Amazon wants to put its Alexa voice-controlled AI helper in everything. And when we say everything, we mean everything – not content today with putting out a whole range of new smart speaker equipment with its refreshed Echo range, it’s bringing Alexa to some of the most mundane items in your home.
As well as an Alexa-equipped microwave, Amazon is introducing a new Echo Wall Clock, that will sync up with your Alexa voice-controlled devices to give you some visual feedback on your timers and reminders.
On the (no pun intended) face of things, the Echo Wall Clock looks like your standard wall-hanging timepiece. It’s got a white frame with numerical marking around its circumference for keeping track of time against a charcoal face.
Where things get interesting is how it hooks up with Alexa. In addition to the numbers, the circumference features an LED array, marking down the minutes and seconds. Connect the clock to your Echo devices over Bluetooth, and these LEDs light up to show exactly how long is left on a timer, or until a reminder has counted down.
It’ll even track multiple timers, with notches lighting up at different points around a face to denote different timers that are being tracked. Once a timer has counted down, those LEDs will flash, along with any audio feedback that your Echo speakers produce.
A few things to note, however – the Echo Wall Clock can only interact with one Echo device at a time. So if it’s hanging in your living room, connected to a living room-based Echo Dot, you won't be able to set a timer for it from the Echo Spot sat on your bedroom dresser. It’s also powered by two AA batteries, and, with a constant Bluetooth connection being established, we’re a little concerned that you’ll be pretty regularly changing out those cells.
With its subtle looks and simple visual feedback, there’s a lot to like about the Echo Wall Clock. For now, it appears to be a US-exclusive, priced at $29.99. But it’s a great example of how Alexa can be used to enhance the ambient-yet-useful furnishings that we take for granted around our homes.
- Check out our hands on Amazon Echo Show (2nd Generation) review
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Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.