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Amazon's $25 Smart Plug brings Alexa brains to dumb electrical appliances

The smart power plug allows you control older appliances, like lights or coffee makers.

Amazon's Smart Plug
Amazon's Smart Plug

If you want your dumb coffeepot to work in your smart home, Amazon has a way: The Wi-Fi connected Amazon Smart Plug.

The $25 (£25) app-controlled device plugs into any ordinary wall socket, and you then plug ordinary electrical appliances into it. The plug, which will ship in October, was unveiled at an Amazon smart device event on Thursday. At the event, Amazon announced more than a dozen products designed to carry its voice-controlled technology into our kitchens, living rooms, porches and even cars. (Australian pricing and availability are yet to be announced.)

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When you first fire up the smart plug, Alexa will ask you if you want to name it. You can then use your voice to say, for example, "call it the bedroom light." That's potentially convenient, but everybody in the house will have to remember what you've named everything.

Amazon's new plug joins a crowded market. But Amazon has good reason to be hopeful of success given how widespread its Alexa technology is already. The company's Echo smart speakers are particularly popular and designed to help control smart-home products.

Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, said the plug is designed with simplicity in mind.

"What we're trying to do is make the installation of any smart device -- whether we make it or somebody else makes it -- as easy as plugging it in," Limp said.

First published September 29, 10:35 a.m. PT.

Update, 4:52 p.m.: Adds more context.

Smart plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network to communicate. Typically, you'll use an accompanying app to control them -- they're too small and cheap for touch screens -- but Amazon's Alexa technology offers the additional choice of a voice interface.

Amazon also unveiled new Echo speakers, part of the line that helped create the smart speaker market. The line has given Amazon a foothold in the "ecosystem" wars of interlinked products, software and services that Apple and Google previously dominated.

Amazon Echo event live blog: Catch all the latest news, pictures and updates from CNET.

Amazon's new device lineup: Here's everything we expect to see unveiled today.