Voice assistants are being integrated into every part of our daily lives, from smart speakers to home security and bizarrely, even to toilets. Google said it expects its Assistant to be installed on a billion devices soon, and Amazon recently announced that more than 100 million devices with Alexa have been sold.
So Amazon’s number isn’t a billion (it isn’t on millions of Android phones, after all), but support for Alexa continues to be built into more and more products, thanks in part to the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit launch last year, which gives developers APIs and technical documentation to make gadgets that can pair up with an Alexa device.
Ahead, some of the more intriguing Alexa-enabled products spotted at CES 2019.
TVs and soundbars
LG’s futuristic rollable TV is coming to market, with a refined base station and a 100-watt Dolby Atmos speaker. Support for Alexa voice controls are also being added along with AirPlay 2. That means that in addition to the usual Alexa commands, you can play music on the Atmos speaker system even when the TV is fully rolled up. There’s also a “Line Mode” that leaves about one-fourth of the screen displayed, still allowing for on-screen music controls and fun mood options like a crackling fireplace. LG says it will be priced at a premium level.
Another TV / Dolby Atmos combo was announced by Panasonic. The company is claiming a lot of firsts with the GZ2000 4K OLED TV, including support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG Photo. Built-in Dolby Atmos speakers are a premium touch, and the audio output was tuned by Technics, a division of Panasonic. Naturally, there’s support for both Alexa and Google Assistant. Again, there’s no price yet, but expect to shell out some bucks.
Samsung has been a holdout with supporting Alexa and Google Assistant on its TVs since it has its own assistant, Bixby. But the company announced that its 2019 TV lineup can recognize simple commands from Alexa or Google Assistant, albeit with a catch. You’ll have to have the corresponding assistant device, like an Amazon Echo. Otherwise, the built-in voice helper is still Bixby only.
In the realm of smart soundbars, Klipsch has a new series where most models are “compatible with” AirPlay 2 and smart assistants like Alexa. So, while it’s not built in, you can use an assistant to stream music to them. Pricing will be between $299 and $1,599, and they can be purchased with or without subwoofers.
Headphones and speakers
A few headphone companies came to the table with new models that work with Alexa. Jabra’s new over-ear Elite 85h headphones will let you summon your preferred voice assistant using just your voice and will cost $299. They also come equipped with “SmartSound technology” to adjust sound settings depending on the noise in your environment.
JBL’s Live headphone range goes from cheaper wired earbuds at $39.95 to wireless on-ear headphones that cost $199.95. All the non-earbud models have Alexa and Google Assistant integration. Sony didn’t announce any new headphones, but it did update its noise-canceling over-ear WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM2 models along with the in-ear neckband-style WI-1000X to include Alexa support.
The Juno AI downlight is an interesting combination product — it’s a ceiling light that has Alexa through integrated JBL speakers. It might look like a normal ceiling light, but can also control other devices, play music through its speakers, or do anything else you’d normally call upon Alexa to do.
Locks and home security
Many home security gadgets with Alexa were spotted at CES. Lockly’s Secure Pro offers five ways to unlock it, including a fingerprint scanner, a keypad that generates numbers in random order, and yep, voice assistant command. It costs $299 and should ship in the next few months.
Ring (owned by Amazon), introduced a slew of new security products. There’s a new Ring Door View Cam that replaces your peephole, smart lighting, smoke detectors, and more. Naturally, the door camera supports Alexa, so you can get alerts when it detects motion and ask your assistant to show your front door.
Schlage debuted the Schlage Encode Smart Wi-Fi Enabled Deadbolt — claimed to be the first Wi-Fi connected smart lock that doesn’t need a hub. It can store up to 100 unlock codes that can be permanent, temporary, or active during certain times. With the lock’s Alexa skill enabled, you can lock and unlock the door remotely and check the lock’s status at any time, provided you have an internet connection. It costs $250 on its own, or $300 when bundled with an Amazon Cloud Cam kit.
Lenovo came out of left field with a combo product called Smart Tabs. It’s a pair of 10-inch tablets with Alexa built in that, when docked into the charging station / smart speaker combo, go into Amazon’s Show Mode. There are two options: the M10 comes with either 2GB of RAM with 16GB of storage, or 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage and starts at $199.99; while the P10 can have up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and costs $299.99.
Meanwhile, Archos has two new budget displays. The five- and seven-inch Mate Smart Displays were originally announced last year, but now have pricing and availability information. Both have HD touchscreens, “a premium speaker,” and come with Alexa built in. They look quite different, though. The smaller Mate 5 has a round body with an angled flat front, while the Mate 7 looks more like a tablet with the side speaker acting as a base so it can be used vertically or horizontally. The Mate 5 will set you back $129, and the Mate 7 is slightly more, priced at $149.
Voice assistants for your bathroom and kitchen
Smart shower system U by Moen added improved Alexa functionality, with support for routines. So, you could add turning the shower on to your morning Alexa routine, with a preferred set temperature.
Kohler showed off an entire smart bathroom. And, while some products were seen in previous years — like the Verdera mirror — there was a slew of new things to expand its Kohler Konnect line. The Veil Lighted Bathroom Collection includes a free-standing bath, lighted three-piece vanity, smart lighting accessories, and... a smart toilet. The Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet goes for $7,000 (or $9,000 in black) and says it will deliver a “fully-immersive experience,” which is not a promise I’m sure I want from a toilet. Regardless, it has speakers and will respond to voice commands.
Whirlpool has been pushing its line of smart appliances over the past year or so, and it introduced a new addition this CES, the Smart Countertop Oven. With a built-in camera and object recognition, the oven can recognize the food placed inside and set the temperature and cook time on its own. It’s Alexa and Google Assistant-compatible, but is costly for a countertop toaster oven, with a price tag of $799.
Lastly, appliance company Gourmia showed off three new Alexa and Google Assistant-compatible devices: a seven-quart digital air fryer, an 11-in-one Deluxe Multicooker, which can do everything from sous vide to roast, and a 10-Cup Coffee Maker and Grinder. They all connect to the company’s mobile app.
And the rest...
There were many other products with built-in Alexa that didn’t adhere to a traditional category. While some were more expected — like Daikin’s new One+ thermostat that can also talk to Daikin HVAC systems — a few were surprising, or in some cases, downright odd and delightful.
Roland had a piano that lets you control keyboard settings with your voice, Razer’s new gaming mouse can control lighting effects using Alexa, iOttie had a smartphone car mount, and smart speaker company Dux partnered with stellé for an Alexa-powered bed. Additionally, the new version of Petcube lets you use Alexa to toss treats at your pets, Cybic debuted the first Alexa-enabled bike, and Vuzix finally started selling the Blade AR glasses it debuted at CES 2018.