Running out of things to do with Alexa? Don't despair. Soon, you'll be able to tell your Amazon personal assistant to heat a mug of water, defrost a chicken, or prepare some popcorn. It's all thanks to the new AmazonBasics microwave that connects to Amazon's Echo device so you can give it voice commands. The microwave was unveiled Thursday in Seattle, Engadget reports. The appliance will sell for $59.99 and will ship starting Nov. 14th, per The Verge, which calls it "a pretty dead-ahead 700W microwave." It features many of the standard microwave buttons, but most of the cooking presets are voice activated (such as "Alexa, one potato," a command used by Amazon's David Limp a demonstration). You can also set it up to automatically order products from Amazon.
"What this microwave does is keep track of how many times you cook popcorn and make sure you never run out," Amazon VP Daniel Rausch tells the Wall Street Journal. Also debuted on Thursday were other smart devices, such as an Echo for cars and a home security system, as well as improvements to Alexa like the abilities to whisper and hold conversations. It all adds up to Amazon's push to "unite a scattered industry," the WSJ notes. Through products like the new AmazonBasics microwave, the company hopes to get big manufacturers to use its Alexa-enabled chips affordable household appliances. As The Verge puts it: "The point is to wow gadget makers with how simple, secure, and easy it is to integrate its Alexa Connection Kit." (Read more Amazon stories.)