Image credit: Adition
Smart speakers may be incredibly useful for our daily lives, but in terms of decor, let’s be honest: they’re basically dark, cylindrical paperweights that you probably keep in a corner.
For people looking for a speaker that won’t stick out like a sore thumb, the Adition Lamp Speaker – an LED lamp equipped with speakers and Alexa support – could be Amazon’s fashionable alternative to the norm.
In a blog post (opens in new tab), Alexa Business Development Principal Mariel van Tatenhove announced that Amazon has partnered with various Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) to create “white-box solutions”, or design templates from which manufacturers can create their own Alexa-enabled speakers. The Adition Lamp is one such template.
“We envision a world where Alexa is everywhere, accessible through any connected device,” van Tatenhove said. We can't confirm if Alexa cackled in the background at this statement.
As currently envisioned, the six-inch Adition comes with two two-inch speakers, two microphones, and button controls for volume and dimming, with dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and iOS/Android-compatible Alexa app support.
But, again, companies willing to lease the ODM design would then add their own spin on it, so their Alexa lamps could have different features and dimensions.
Van Tatenhove’s post also revealed two white-box designs for standard tabletop smart speakers with Alexa support, but they don’t necessarily stand out from other speakers in a very crowded market, compared to this new smart lamp design.
If you can’t beat ’em…
As we learned at CES this year, enabling Alexa and Google Assistant support is trending. From cars to the smart speakers of competitors, Amazon and Google want people using these voice assistants as their primary source of information and the way they make purchases.
Most Alexa speakers, like the Ultimate Ears Megablast or Asus Lyra Voice, have designs separate from Amazon, or lease designs from other manufacturers like Qualcomm. But these speakers' Alexa support is often limited compared to what you’ll find from an Amazon Echo.
By making white-box designs with native Alexa support available, Amazon is no doubt hoping manufacturers will come straight to the source and rehabilitate Alexa’s image.
Ultimately, we’re excited about the potential for a flood of new smart lamp speakers onto the market.
So far, only one such device is available: the GE Sol smart lamp, powered by Alexa voice support. Its unique circular design outshines the Adition’s, but its Alexa support likely can’t hold a candle to a first-party device.
Via The Verge (opens in new tab)
- Next up: our Amazon Echo Plus review