The tech giant has announced it is adding cooking capabilities to its Smart Home Skill API - the programming tools that make it possible to connect Alexa with internet-connected devices.
That means Alexa developers will now be able to integrate the smart assistant into their own connected microwaves and conventional ovens, though support for the latter won't be arriving for a while yet. Amazon's Alexa-powered devices Echo, Echo Dot and the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were the retailer's No. 1 and No. 2 top-selling over the holidays products, respectively, Amazon said.
"Customers have now connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats".
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"Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking", Amazon's Mike Maas wrote in a blog post. "Customers can ask Alexa to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and more instead of using the traditional and often confusing microwave experience".
The biggest limitation here is on the appliance side: even if you have a smart microwave or a smart oven - and most people don't - it also needs to be updated to support this feature.
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".
GE Appliances, LG, Samsung, and Kenmore also plan to add Alexa support for their ovens, as well as other appliances, at some point in the future. Amazon explained further telling CNET that, "we're making it easier for device manufacturers to build for Alexa by providing a common framework". For example, a user can say "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or "Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high".