Welcome to this week’s round-up where we take a look at Amazon’s recent Alexa updates including a voice assistant microwave, its latest launch in Turkey, Snapchat’s feature enabling users to search for Amazon products and more!
Amazon’s latest Alexa devices
Amazon has announced a range of new products which are all connected to the internet and its Alexa-enabled devices. The new devices include an Amazon Basics Microwave which can be controlled using your voice. The video that went alongside the launch showed the user simply saying “one potato” to the microwave and the device then chooses the right settings to cook the food. The microwave will initially launch in the US for $59.99 but could be launched elsewhere if it proves popular. Another in-home device that Amazon announced is an internet enabled clock which will automatically update the time at the start and end of daylight saving time as well as lighting up with any timers set. Neither of these devices actually have Alexa built in, however, they connect to Echo devices in the home to provide the functionality. The products have been launched as a means for Amazon to highlight the possibilities of smart homes.
Alexa is coming to all cars
Along with the microwave and clock, Amazon has also announced Echo Auto. This new Echo device will sit on the dashboard of your car and will have the same capabilities as any other Echo device, meaning that you can ask it for music, directions or to turn the lights on just as you arrive home. The new device will enable anybody to have Alexa capabilities in their car, no matter how new it may be. Many manufacturers are building Alexa into their new models, but there was previously no way of retrofitting it, but the Echo Auto solves this issue. Amazon has said that a lot of work has gone into the Echo Auto as it needed to redevelop the microphones to get rid of noise from the car and the road to be able to pick up the commands clearly. Once again, it will be launched in the USA to begin but will likely be launched in other markets in due course.
Amazon launched in Turkey
Amazon announced last week that it was launching in Turkey, initially offering products in 15 different categories. Some of the types of products that Turkish consumers will be able to order through Amazon include books, electronics, tools, toys and baby goods. Alpagut Cilingir, head of seller services for Amazon’s Turkish operation has said ‘the new service would level the playing field between big and small businesses and empower local companies of any size to grow their business online.’ At first glance, many people may question why Amazon has chosen to launch in Turkey, however, when you consider that it has a population of over 80 million and its economy grew 7.4% last year and has a predicted growth of 4.1% this year you can see why Amazon has identified it as a significant opportunity.
Snapchat’s Amazon functionality
It has been announced that Snapchat is to begin letting its users search for products on Amazon using their smartphone camera. Visual Search on Snapchat was first reported earlier this year, and this tie in with Amazon (should it be an affiliate deal) could help to generate significant revenue should consumers decide to purchase the products that the tool is suggesting. This could be a huge boost for Snapchat given that its user base is shrinking and its cash losses grow. A statement from the company said that the new feature will be ‘rolling out slowly‘, just how slowly will remain to be seen.
eBay’s Wolverhampton business partnership
eBay has announced a year-long partnership with businesses in Wolverhampton, in a bid to help grow trade in the area. As part of the partnership, eBay will be offering training to small retailers, helping them set up an eBay Shop and also providing advice on driving internet sales. eBay has said it chose Wolverhampton for the scheme ‘because of its heritage, transport connections and because it will be part of the government’s 5G testbed trial in early 2019.’
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