Amazon gives Alexa more cooking chops, invests in June Oven

Amazon gives Alexa more cooking chops, invests in June Oven

Kenneth Drake
January 5, 2018

As such the company is already offering its Echo lineup in different form factors.

Multinational manufacturer, Hisense is previewing its line up of 2018 smart TV's that will be announced at The Global Stage for Innovation (CES) 2018 next week. While you won't be able to ask Alexa for cookies and have a tray of piping-hot chocolate chip emerge from the nearest Echo smart speaker, it will allow manufacturers to bake the the assistant into their upcoming microwaves. Yes, you heard that right.

In a bid to strengthen Alexa's presence in the kitchen, Amazon has invested in a smart oven company called June Oven via its venture capital fund Alexa Fund.

The spending habits of Amazon Echo owners also means that the company can sell the devices as a loss leader if it means gaining a greater share of consumer wallets. Today we are excited to introduce cooking capabilities as part of the Smart Home Skill API. Ovens and microwaves are the current focus, but Amazon hopes that other appliances will be compatible beyond that.

Prices and availability aren't stated at this time.

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Companies featured in the talks have reportedly included Procter and Gamble, and Clorox, who could soon "pay for higher placement if a user searches for a product such as shampoo on the device, similar to how paid searches work in Google". Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices.

Initially, there are four new capability interfaces in the Smart Home Skill API - Alexa.Cooking, Alexa.Cooking.TimeController, Alexa.TimeHoldController, and Alexa.Cooking.PresetController.

Given you have to be in immediate proximity to a cooker or microwave in order to insert the food, Alexa won't save that much labour. Amazon has a handful of partners on board, but it isn't clear just how quickly support will roll out.

Only Whirlpool has officially made an Alexa skill for ovens and microwaves at the moment, but we have no timeline as to when we'll actually see an Alexa-capable oven or microwave from the company aside from "soon". The skill enables customers to easily configure, start, and operate their connected Whirlpool microwaves. GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung will be next, Amazon says.