The world was introduced to Amazon’s friendly virtual assistant, Alexa, over two years ago. What started as a voice from a cylindrical speaker has become a huge ecosystem of devices and services. Alexa has become nearly as famous as Apple’s Siri.
But while Siri is quarantined to Apple products, Alexa is free to spread. Nowhere was that more apparent than CES this year. Alexa showed up in everything from Bluetooth speakers to refrigerators and cars. She quietly stole the show.
Here’s a quick look at some cool and very strange things we saw with Amazon Alexa at CES this year.
Lenovo Smart Assistant
This is a Bluetooth speaker with always-listening Alexa capability. It’s basically the Amazon Echo, but with higher quality speakers. The speaker will be available for $130 in May.
Mattel’s Aristotle is also similar to the Amazon Echo, but it is made specifically for looking after children. The speaker comes with a WiFi camera that acts as a baby monitor. Aristotle will launch in June for $300.
LG Smart Refrigerator
This “smart fridge” has a 29-inch touchscreen with webOS and Alexa built in. You can literally tell your refrigerator to order groceries. As sci-fi as that sounds, it will likely cost a pretty penny when it eventually launches.
Bixi is a little puck-shaped device that you can put pretty much anywhere. It allows you to use gestures to control a wide variety of things. it also utilizes Alexa’s voice commands. It’s up for pre-order for $99.
Ford & VW
This is basically another re-skinned Amazon Echo, but the LG Hub looks a lot more…friendly. The display acts as a “face” that can change expressions and swivel. Other than that, it does all the basic Alexa stuff.
Dish Hopper DVR
Alexa is already on Amazon’s TV devices, and now she has made her way to Dish. Alexa will soon allow you to use your voice to control the TV and DVR functionality on the Hopper DVR. “Alexa, record Westworld.”
Samsung Powerbot VR7000
Yes, Alexa can even control vacuums. Samsung’s Roomba competitor can be controlled by your voice if you have the Amazon Echo. “Alexa, clean the living room. It’s filthy.”
The Airmega is an air purifier that can be controlled with Alexa through the Amazon Echo. You can turn it on or off and control the fan speed. Now more getting up to clean the air!
GE Ring Lamp
The GE Ring Lamp is basically a lamp with the abilities of the Amazon Echo. It lights up like Cortana as it responds to your commands. Of course, you can also use voice to turn it on or off.
This is just a small sampling of the gadgets and doohickies that work with Amazon Alexa. Some of these things have Alexa built right in, but a lot of them simply work with the Echo. That is something Google desperately needs to do with Google Home. It’s beginning to look like every appliance in your home will work with Alexa. Google can’t touch that level of integration yet.
What did you think about all of the Alexa devices at CES? Are you in the Amazon ecosystem, or did you go with Google Home?