Amazon is announcing another small new Alexa device today: a smart plug that lets you control whatever is plugged into it with Alexa. The plug doesn’t have microphones built into it, so you’ll need an Echo device somewhere else in your house to control it by voice. But once it’s set up, you’ll be able to control it either in or out of the house from Alexa or the Alexa app.
The plug will sell for $25, which is pretty much the standard price for this kind of device. There are a ton of smart plugs out there already — many of which already work with Alexa, and most of which support multiple smart home systems, giving them an advantage over this device — but Amazon thinks this product can stand out because of its setup. Amazon says it’s built a simple, automatic setup process into Echo devices, and this smart plug is one of the first devices to support it.
Amazon isn’t wrong: setting up smart home gadgets, especially something without a screen like a smart plug, can be a hassle. So having it work automatically is definitely an advantage (of course, so is controlling the largest online storefront in the world). It sounds like Wi-Fi routers may also need to add support for this simple setup system in order for it to work, which could slow down the rollout, but Amazon says it’s already partnered with TP-Link and Eero to add support.
The device will be available for preorder starting today. It’ll start shipping next month.