Amazon Alexa will soon control microwave ovens

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You might need to dive into your Amazon Prime settings and set your country to Australia if you've previously tricked it into thinking you're in the U.S. so you could set up Alexa, Echo speakers or Amazon Music.

The catch, as you might imagine, is that your ovens and microwaves need to support this feature, and nearly all "smart" versions now don't.

Could Alexa be the next big thing in 2018? Appliances that have pre-sets are needed - like microwave ovens, conventional ovens, and presumably other cooking devices like slow cookers and perhaps bread makers. "Customers can ask Alexa to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and more instead of using the traditional and often confusing microwave experience".

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".

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On Thursday, the company announced "cooking capabilities" are now part of its Smart Home Skill API. It also might be useful for when you've put your food in the microwave and are reading the back of the box for directions, which you can then call out to Alexa as you find them. Using the appropriate Alexa Skill, and saying "Alexa, defrost this 2-pound sirloin steak", will start a microwave and punch in the correct settings - with just your voice. The interfaces are designed for future extensibility as support for more cooking devices becomes available the company has revealed. Whilst Amazon has a variety of vendor partners, it's not certain how rapidly support will roll out. Whirlpool has already created its own Alexa skill for microwaves, and plans to launch it "soon".

Today, Hisense announced that the company is bringing Amazon's digital assistance, Alexa, to some of its 2018 4K Smart TVs. A number of other big-name manufactures, including GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung are also planning to add Alexa to their ovens and other appliances.

We've found the running theme for TVs at this year's CES: built-in voice assistants. Do let us know in the comments.

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