"Amazon Alexa 2018 event: Editors react"
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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
Amazon Alexa 2018 event: Editors react
All right so Ben Fox Rubin my friend, my buddy, my Amazon covering cohort.
We just saw a baker's dozen of new devices from Amazon, electro gadgets, new Fire TV stuff, a new ring camera.
What's your overall take away from this very busy and jam-packed day?
So generally speaking I like the idea that
They broadly made these devices look a little bit nicer.
I mean Alexa has always been the primary element of this whole thing, and they're constantly improving that.
But from a designer perspective this stuff didn't really actually look this nice.
It was pretty plasticky, was kind of bulky.
So they did a much better job I thought to soften the look.
And to add a lot of fabric to some of the designs to get a little bit closer to the competition.
I think that's right, I think we're seeing the Alexa platform mature.
We're seeing these devices kind of come into their own as things you'd wanna put in your home, you'd kinda show off, kinda borrowing a page from Apple.
I think the new subwoofer looks a lot like the HomePod in some ways.
It's kinda that same aesthetic that it's going for.
And it's just interesting to see on the software side, all of these devices really work towards working with everything they possibly can
Including a wall clock.
Including a wall clock, right?
And the Alexa Connect [INAUDIBLE].
This new Alexa Connect Kit that developers can put into their appliances and devices to very easily and cheaply connect it with the Amazon Cloud, Bluetooth, WiFi, encryption, all that stuff, and make anything into an Alexa gadget, really.
The microwave that they showed kinda shows the possibility for that.
Do you see a lot of the potential there, in terms of Yeah.
They've been doing it already.
Kind of standing the platform right.
At CES, they said that Alexa was integrated with 4000 devices.
Now at eFub, they said 20000 devuces.
It's a five fold increase in just a couple of months.
I think it;s about eight months.
So with that additional kit and all the other things that they ar adding in, you would expect that number to continue going up because obviously 20000 devices from Amazon's perspective, that's just the start.
The thing that I'm curious about is how quickly is Google gonna try to catch up with Google Assistant?
Apple has been really slow at this with Siri and the Home pod, but we'll see if they try to do the same thing with Home kit and the Home pod as well.
Yeah, I think the message from Amazon to Apple and Google is really clear right now, it's catch us if you can.
Yeah, that's a good way of putting it.
You know they're running at full sprint and they're just trying to get
Alexa everywhere and everything connected to her to make it this really all-encompassing home assistant that can do whatever you want it to.
And that's, they took a big step towards that today.
I gotta give them a lot of credit.
Yeah, one of the fun things that I kinda like about writing about Amazon is that they're not too afraid to experiment.
I mean, like Apple would never, ever come out with an experimental basics microwave.
A $60 [CROSSTALK].
A $60 microwave or the wall clock, which I personally think is kinda silly.
It's a little stupid and it doesn't really do that much but If you look at it from the perspective of we're experimenting, we're trying different things as a new platform and we're gonna try to do stuff, then I'm kind of all for it and I look forward to more Alexa connected toilets.
God forbid and we'll see how that goes.
And from a design perspective, that microwave, they kept saying this is the most popular size and [UNKNOWN] Amazon and all the ones we sell
I mean it's a 700 Walt microwave, it's a pretty small, it's like a dorm room microwave basically and it's not even that nice of a design, it's a very basic Amazon basics microwave.
So they're not really trying to go high end, they're trying to go, they're trying to make the point that anything that they can be an Alexa device.
That's a pretty interesting pitch, I think we'll see how that plays out once that starts selling, and if more device makers jump onboard with that chip.
Yeah, and the big selling point for Amazon has always been, we're going to give you slightly better features than you expect at cheaper price, and I'm glad they stuck with that.
Obviously they improved the aesthetic, but they did not raise the prices on any of the stuff.
I'm looking at you Apple.
You guys [LAUGH] keep raising your prices.
So now the base model iPhone, the iPhone 10 is now $750.
You know so you can at least look at it from the perspective that Amazon is sticking to what it knows best, which is look, that is not the nicest microwave that you would ever have but It works, it's simple, and dang it, it's $60, so yeah.
I think that's an interesting contrast.
We'll see how that plays out.
One last thing we gotta talk about, we gotta talk about Amazon's efforts at entertainment.
Because they've got the firetv recast.
It's sorta like a DVR box for all of your firetv content and antenna-based content that can beam all throughout the house.
Works with the Echo Show, you can pull up Food Network in the kitchen really easily with it.
And on the music front, they've got more music partners with Tidal in the mix now and they're really pushing towards Alexa being an entertainment hub as well.
And I think that'll be.
The Fire TV Cube is another example of that.
Which granted, was one of the few things that wasn't announced today but that was also an effort to make Alexa more of an entertainment hub for sure.
So yeah, it's They're trying to look at it from the perspective of how do we make Alexa the best possible thing?
The best possible platform for your home entertainment and your living room, for your kitchen, for your bedroom, for like literally every different area in your house.
They need those types of partners to actually provide the right content to do that kind of stuff If you're really gonna take over living room entertainment, and their on their way to doing that.
All right, and gotta talk about one more thing.
I mean we keep forgetting things cuz there are so much.
Like the Echo Auto is $25 if you get it by invite.
Or I think it's $50 at full price-
Is that right?
That's gonna be a little kinda casette tape looking thing you set on your dash
Plug in the power and just bring Alexa into your car and we've already seen devices that do that, Garmin speak has a navigating tool with Alexa, there's the anchor row [UNKNOWN]
Yeah, that plugs into your,
Are the cigarette lighting for it and I actually had that at my car, it always drop connection and does weird things with bluetooth, I think this is better than that, it would be pretty appealing, $25 is half the price of that I think
So that's gonna get a lot of people to buy in.
I'm gonna be very curious to see how that does, and the idea of Alexa in everybody's car is an interesting one.
Hey it's a smart move, obviously, it's something that I guess we should've seen coming.
In that, you know there are so many cars on the road, and they don't get updated every single year.
Was Amazon's Hardware chief mentioned on stage.
He said that they sell 70 million cars every year but that's still hundreds of millions of cars that we don't get into Alexa.
And if anything they presented today, is that if you have a house, if you have a car, we wanna put Alexa into it, and we wanna get there before the other guys do.
So, to that extent that makes a lot of sense that they would provide their own concept, and try to get Alexa into moe vehicles Alright well we've got a lot to think about the coming weeks.
And we've gotta you know test a lot of stuff.
So we'll get right on that but.
We gotta talk about the subwoofer too?
Man that's so bad.
So the subwoofer $130.
What I think is really clever here.
Wait is it 130?
Yeah.>> That's not bad for a subwoofer.
Not bad for a subwoofer.
I would even consider buying a subwoofer at those prices.
I would like to ask for that as a gift I don't know if I would buy that for myself but that's right in the ballpark range of a nice birthday gift or something but what I think is clever is that the $130 sub woofer they say pair it with two echos and you get that 2.1 audio sound system that's got left and right channel.
Those are hundred dollars [UNKNOWN].
See, add that a lot.
That's 330 bucks.
That's less than the cost by $20 and a single Apple home file.
So I see that pricing as a shot.
In cappuccino's direction and I think people might be more drawn to that than the home pod which has been slow to catch on.
Yeah, and sounf whoofer is a brand new product and right of the gate, they made it look
Nicer, it's got the fabric designed around it, it's not some clunky mess and you would actually feel okay having it right next to your home entertainment system.
So, I think they did a good job as far as the statics were concerned with that one as well, they also had what was it the link and the link amp which is a continuation of them trying to do more home entertainment.
And trying to really push themselves into that area.
I don't want to feel like they're just throwing me out of the audio files and complain about the sound quality of the Echo and the Echo Plus and the existing speakers and just say, look, use your own speakers.
Here is all the hardware you need to bring electricity to it, every audio set if you want.
We see that [UNKNOWN] and people buy into that.
They just want an all-in-one solution.
I mean you can throw that to the home pod or something and the home pod [UNKNOWN] room filling audio, it's really high quality and audio files like it.
And the echo ampling [UNKNOWN] you gotta have your own stuff and connected them.
That might appeal to people that have those [UNKNOWN] already but people wanna buy in on a fresh system.
Might just want that single approach [UNKNOWN] home pod.
So interesting thing that you're touching upon to in that one of the few things that they didn't show off today was like
At Google Home Max competitor
Like our top top shelf Echo speaker And the hardware chief David Limp on stage specifically referenced he was like we already provide a lot of choice when it comes to these kind of things.
We just wanna create the connectivity for that.
So, there were adding to the connectivity with the link and the link amp And also the Echo input which just connects the speakers.
Another thing we forgot to mention [CROSSTALK].
So that's not a speaker, it's you connect it to speaker and it makes it to your Echo device.
Which is really smart beause that's how a lot people use the echo DAW already.
So it's just basically saying we'll make the pass a little lower and you can use it like you've been using it before.
Just plug it to your own speakers, bluetooth, [UNKNOWN], whatever you want.
Now we tried to end this video four times and keep forgetting things.
Have we forgotten anything else?
I'm about to fall over.
I don't think will-
On camera, yeah.
I will probably never be to another event where the guy gets on stage and says, we're gonna have 70 different announcement today and gets a laught form the audience and then confirms that yes, in fact, there were 70 different announcements.
So this is a real Bing bang boom, like we're gonna get through a ton of stuff really really quickly, it goes back to which you said which is, catch me if you can like, it was basically like we're just gonna keep pushing forward as quickly as possible, and we'll see if the competition can keep up.
Yeah, absolutely, so we've got a lot of work to do and probably a lot of sleep tonight.
And this part is for us.
Brain dead but we're gonna make it.
Anyway, that was fun.
It was fun.
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