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Amazon and Alexa are sneaking into every aspect of your life

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Amazon Echo event 2018 Dave Limp
Dave Limp, Senior Vice
President of Amazon Devices, introduces the ‘Echo Auto,’ which
allows users to use Alexa in their car, during an event at the
Amazon Spheres, on September 20 in Seattle.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

  • Amazon unveiled 13 new hardware products, along with a slew
    of new services and Alexa updates, at an event on Thursday. 
  • The new products give Amazon a greater reach than ever
    before. It now offers everything from an Alexa-enabled microwave,
    to high-end audio equipment, to a wall clock.
  • Amazon’s reach exceeds that of other tech giants like Apple
    and Google, since it extends far beyond software and hardware.
    Amazon increasingly has the power to touch your life several
    times each day, in every place you spend your time.

At its event on Thursday, Amazon introduced 70 new
things

That’s right. At the start of the event, Amazon exec
Dave Limp said “We’ve got 70 things to talk
about.” 
If he was kidding, it was difficult to
tell. 

A lot of it was related to software — Amazon unveiled new ways to
protect your home, new software updates for its popular Echo
devices, and new ways for developers to tap into Amazon’s
powerful and popular Alexa ecosystem. 

But 13 of the new announcements were hardware products. Along
with some practical new products with broad appeal — the Echo
Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show — you can also now buy some
head-scratching new Echo devices, including an Alexa-enabled
microwave, high-end audio products with Alexa built-in, and even
an Alexa wall clock. Seriously — a clock. 

Now, Amazon can’t possibly believe all of these products will fly
off the shelves. In fact, CEO Jeff Bezos has said as much in
the past
— he expects some of Amazon’s products to
be total flops, in the name of experimentation. 

These products exist because selling a lot of them isn’t really
the point for Amazon — which by the way, is within spitting
distance of a $1 trillion public valuation. The point is, the new
products provide choice, and in turn, open up even more ways that
Amazon can sneak into your life. 


Amazon Echo new products
An assortment of Amazon’s
newly launched devices, including the Echo Input, Echo Show, Echo
Plus, Echo Sub, Echo Auto, and Fire TV Recast are displayed at
Amazon headquarters.

Stephen
Brashear/Getty Images


Amazon can sneak up on you

Think about it like this: say you’re someone who doesn’t consider
herself or himself to be particularly “connected” or “tech-y.”

But you like to shop on Amazon, so you sign up for Amazon Prime.
Prime Day rolls around, so you buy yourself an Echo Dot, since
it’s on sale. While you’re shopping, you realize you need a new
microwave, and notice the Amazon sells a cheap one that’s
Alexa-enabled. Neat! That’s the only part of your life that’s
Amazon-y though, you swear … except that you also shop at Whole
Foods, because you now get discounts for being a Prime customer.
Oh, and don’t forget all the books you read on your Kindle.

All of a sudden, there are five Amazon touchpoints in your daily
life — and you’re barely scratching the surface. 

What about the customers with Fire TVs, and Echo devices in every
room? What about the person who puts Amazon in their car, in
their doorbell, or in their security cameras? Or the person who
shops at Amazon’s Go stores and uses Amazon’s Dash buttons? 

There’s a big difference between Amazon and Google

There’s a key reason why Amazon’s reach differs from that of
Google or Apple. While Apple makes hardware and software that you
use every single day, most of its reach ends when you put down
your phone or shut your laptop — and largely the same with
Google, although the search giant does have its own smart-home
play.

But Amazon extends far beyond a $50 piece of hardware or a
popular voice assistant — Amazon isn’t just another tech giant
selling gadgetry. It’s in the towels you buy for your bathroom;
it’s in the clothes you wear; it’s in your TV; it’s in your food.
It creates the shows and movies you watch, and it’s in your home
appliances. At this point, it could even be in the outlets in
your walls. 

There are now an almost unlimited number of ways Amazon can
insert itself into your daily life, and it doesn’t show any sign
of slowing down. None of this is to say that Amazon’s
expansive reach is nefarious, or harmful to your privacy and
independence…although Amazon and other tech giants have faced
increased scrutiny in recent months over just how much power they
have. 

But if you think you live outside of Amazon’s reach, you may need
to think again. 

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