Smart Speaker Shipments to Surpass 56 Million Units in 2018 [Chart]

Jose Luis Pelaez  Getty Images

While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the United States and beyond. Support for other cooking devices, such as conventional ovens, is coming soon.

Voice-controlled devices continue to grow more impressive by the week, and in the latest development, today Amazon announced that its Alexa voice assistant service will soon be able to help out in the kitchen.

The end game for Amazon appears to be to make it really easy to order from Amazon using its smart speakers, and get as many of its smart speakers into homes as possible. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, users can simply use their voices.

According to CNBC, Amazon "has been in talks with several companies about letting them promote products on the best-selling Echo devices, which are powered by the Alexa voice assistant, according to several people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the discussions are private". "For example, a customer can say "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or 'Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high'". A skill for the oven will allow users to pre-heat, set a timer and turn the oven off - just by talking to it.

To make this a success Amazon is also working with a handful of partners or developers to be precise, but it is yet to be seen as to how quickly the support will roll out. The skill enables customers to easily configure, start, and operate their connected Whirlpool microwaves.

Amazon is making it easier to bring Alexa to devices like headphones and smartwatches
Amazon announces Alexa is coming to headphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers

Unfortunately Amazon only sells the Basic Edition of its Fire TV in Australia and we miss out on United States models which pack more grunt, support faster Wi-Fi, handle Ultra HD streaming and work with Amazon's talkative Alexa smart assistant.

Whirlpool has signed on to launch an Alexa-ready microwave that will be the first to the market.

All in all, this is an interesting development in the technology sphere. We don't want Microwaves or ovens blowing up or catching on fire.

The first is to let brands pay for placement when users are shopping through Alexa.




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