Amazon is taking over our homes... no, literally this time.
On Wednesday, the Seattle tech giant said it turned 15 Lennar-owned model homes across the US into showrooms, called Amazon Experience Centers, for all sorts of Amazon services and Alexa-powered smart home gear. Customers will be able to test gadgets including the Echo Show smart speaker and the Amazon-owned Ring video doorbell, and use Amazon's Alexa voice assistant to control TVs, lights, thermostats and shades.
They can also learn about reordering goods, or how to use for help wall-mounting a TV or getting a house cleaner. The new centers are coming to Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC, with more on the way, the company said.
Though these locations don't sell any items, they serve as another example of Amazon's effort to maintain its lead in smart home tech, with its Echo devices holding roughly 70 percent of the US smart speaker market, analysts say. With Google offering significant competition, not to mention Apple and Samsung joining the fray, Amazon will need to use whatever tools it can to keep its own smart home gadgets at the top of people's minds.
The homes should also serve as another place for customers to test Amazon products before buying them, something they can't do on the company's website. Amazon already brought its gadgets to its own bookstores, mall kiosks, college drop-off centers and its Whole Foods stores, in addition to retail stores like Best Buy.
Customers won't need to book a tour time to visit the new locations. They can visit amazon.com/experience for more information on the homes.
People interested in an at-home, one-on-one smart home consultation with an Amazon employee can do that, too, through Amazon's existing smart home services program, available in a handful of cities nationwide.
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