If you're a regular reader here on CNET, then you've probably noticed that we spend an awful lot of time talking about Alexa, Amazon's voice-activated virtual assistant. Part of the reason for that is that the number of Alexa-compatible devices is growing rapidly thanks in no small part to outside development from manufacturers eager to put Alexa to work.
That's left us with a huge variety of gadgets to keep an eye on -- here's a look at some of the most notable that we've covered.
Let's start simple, with some of the third-party Alexa speakers we've tested out. At $200, the Sonos One is more expensive than any of them, but it also offers outstanding sound quality that outperforms the Amazon Echo. On top of that, it manages to squeeze the Google version, Google Assistant, in along with Alexa, letting you pick your cloud-connected helper of choice. Next year, it'll work with Siri commands, too.
If $200 is too much for you, then consider the $100 Fabriq Chorus. With a charging cradle and a built-in battery, it's basically an off-brand Amazon Tap that lets you take your speaker with you around the home. Plus, it comes in a variety of fun designs, and lets you link multiple speakers together over Bluetooth for synchronized audio playback.
Speaking of bedrooms, this iHome alarm clock features built-in Alexa voice controls, too. That makes plenty of sense given how many of us already keep an Echo Dot by our bedside -- we just wish it didn't cost $150.
Shrink an Amazon Echo just a bit, then trade the ring of indicator lights for a big, honkin' halo of light that doubles as a color-changing accent lamp. That's the Sol, GE's Alexa-enabled smart lamp. It isn't cheap, but it's weirdly likable.
How about an Alexa-powered TV? That's what you get with this set from Element. Just hold down the mic button on the remote, then ask Alexa to pull up your favorite streaming service, switch HDMI inputs or jump to the antenna channel of your choice.
Here's another appliance with Alexa hiding inside: the Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat. And, unlike most of these third-party gadgets, the Ecobee4 includes Amazon's ESP feature, which makes it so that only the Alexa device nearest to you will respond to your command. That's a nice touch.
Alexa even has her sights set on your car -- your windshield, specifically. Just stick the Garmin Speak in place and pair it with your phone and your car's audio system, then ask Alexa for turn-by-turn navigation help.
For something truly futuristic, consider the emerging crop of helper robots. We see more and more of them each year at CES, and more and more of them, like this LG Hub Robot, are starting to include Alexa voice controls, too.
Mind you, most of these helper bots feel like gimmicky prototypes, and many of them probably won't ever see the light of day. Still, it's fun to imagine the role they would play were they to ever really take off. For instance, you can steer this little guy around your home from your phone and see whatever his camera sees. And yep, he offers Alexa voice controls.
Some of these products are truly creative -- this guy, the Ubtech Lynx, is an Alexa-activated automaton that strikes yoga poses for you to copy during your workout. That's... weird. But... it also kind of makes sense?