In Brief

Why has Amazon made an Alexa-powered microwave?

Voice commands can be used to set timers - but users still need to place food in the oven

Amazon has unveiled a bizarre - and some say unnecessary - smart microwave powered by its Alexa voice assistant.  

Launching as part of the AmazonBasics range of everyday items, the Alexa microwave can be controlled using a series of voice commands in much the same manner as the firm’s Echo speaker products.

For instance, users can say, “Alexa, microwave on high for two minutes”, to the set the timer without lifting a finger, Engadget reports. 

The microwave can also respond to less specific instructions, such as “cook one potato”, and will automatically set the correct time and heat.

As The Independent notes, users still have to physically place food in the oven, and the device doesn’t have an in-built microphone - so unlike the Echo speakers, it can’t talk back to users. 

The jury is out on the new oven, but that won’t deter Amazon, which also announced two more smart home devices at yesterday’s product launch in Seattle.

The tech giant has created a clock that can set timers through voice commands, and an Echo Auto system that connects Alexa to car stereos, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The new devices are part of Amazon’s push to put the voice assistant in as many products as possible, says CNet

“Creating a bigger universe of Alexa-powered products is an increasingly important goal for Amazon as it tries convincing millions of people to place its Echo products all over their homes,” the tech news site explains.

The Alexa microwave is available to pre-order in the US for $59.99 (£45), with a UK release date expected to follow.

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