The rumors were true, Amazon has announced an Alexa microwave. The AmazonBasics Microwave with Alexa is a 0.7 cu. ft. microwave with 700W of power that you can control with your voice. Alexa isn’t actually built-into the microwave, meaning there are no microphones or speakers in the microwave. Instead, the microwave responds to commands from your Echo devices, but it does take Alexa integration a bit further than you might think. The microwave is available to pre-order now for $59.99 and will arrive on November 14th.
At its core, the AmazonBasics Microwave is a budget device, so it is missing many of the advanced features one might find on most modern microwaves. That’s why it’s being released under the AmazonBasics brand, which is Amazon’s low-cost house brand, instead of as an Echo or Amazon-branded device. For comparison, the AmazonBasics Microwave is less expensive than most of the top-selling 0.7 cu. ft. microwaves on Amazon.
Amazon did not set out with the intention of making a microwave to sell. Instead, the AmazonBasics Microwave began life as a reference product that the company used while designing its new Alexa APIs. The result was a microwave that was compelling enough to actually released.
While the AmazonBasics Microwave supports Alexa, you cannot speak to the microwave directly nor can Alexa speak back through the microwave. Instead, the microwave is paired with the Alexa app as a smart home device, much like you would pair a smart bulb or thermostat. Once integrated into your Alexa smart home ecosystem, you’ll be able to issue microwave control commands through any Alexa-enabled device.
While explicit commands like “Alexa, microwave for 2 minutes” and “Alexa, add 30 seconds to the microwave” will work, the true power of Alexa integration comes in the form of natural language commands. You’ll be able to say things like “Alexa, reheat coffee” or “Alexa, microwave frozen vegetables” and Alexa will handle issuing the correct commands to the microwave.
Amazon has taken Alexa integration a step further by adding an “Ask Alexa” button on the microwaves button panel. Pressing it will cause the closest Alexa device to begin listening, as if you pressed the action button on the Alexa device. This is essentially a way of adding the ability to talk to the microwave, without Amazon needing to add microphones or speakers. So you’ll be able to walk up to the microwave, press the “Ask Alexa” button, say “2 minutes”, and the microwave will start running as long as there’s an Alexa device close by to hear your command.
In addition to the Alexa button, Amazon has integrated their Dash Replenishment service into the microwave’s popcorn button. This means that, if you sign up for the service, the microwave will keep track of how many times popcorn is made and automatically re-order your choice of popcorn from Amazon when it determines you’re about to run out.
While it’s unlikely that the new AmazonBasics Microwave will kick off a line of Amazon made appliances with Alexa, it’s still an interesting device for someone looking for an inexpensive basic microwave with a bit of extra tech. Most people will likely be more interested when this tech makes its way into more higher-end microwaves by 3rd-party manufacturers, but the AmazonBasics Microwave is available to pre-order now for just $59.99 and will be released on November 14th.