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Amazon is not satisfied with putting its smart speakers (with microphones) in every room of your home. Jeff Bezos and crew have much more ambitious, um, ambitions about this whole Alexa-enabled ecosystem. In addition to the booming Echo Sub announced yesterday, they've also got a new Alexa microwave. No, that is not a typo.

I mean, the idea of smart appliances as part of a smart home in an Internet of Things ecosystem is nothing new. There are a number of companies out there with smart fridges, smart coffee makers, and all the rest of it. The new AmazonBasics Microwave doesn't break the mold so much as it establishes that Amazon wants to really get its slice of the reheated pie.

For better or for worse, while the new AmazonBasics Microwave "works with Alexa," it doesn't have any microphones itself. Instead, you'll need to interact through a nearby Echo device, which you'll obviously already have in your kitchen. The new third-generation Echo Dot ($49.99) could be a good fit, in that way.

As far as the regular "microwave" features go, it's decidedly simple. It's not huge at just 0.7 cubic feet, it's not especially powerful at 700 watts, and its got your usual presets, power levels, and a turntable. Naturally, things get more interesting when you throw Amazon's smart assistant into the mix.

With the Alexa microwoave (not the official name, but that's what I'm going to call it), you can say something like, "Alexa, reheat one cup of coffee." Your nearby Echo will recognize the command and get the microwave to run using the "appropriate power and time settings." More presets are going to be added all the time, for everything from "defrosting peas" to "microwaving a potato."

And then there's the automatic popcorn refills. If you set yourself up for this service, Alexa will keep track of how much popcorn you make -- either through voice commands or with the popcorn button -- and automatically reorder more when you run low.


The AmazonBasics Microwave with Alexa will launch on November 14 for a very reasonable $59.99. They've also got the new Echo Auto for your car that lists for $49.99 and is offered at $24.99 (50%) for a limited time by invitation, and the new Echo Input to transform any speaker into an Alexa-enabled one for $34.99.

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