"hen most tech companies host a launch event, it is to unveil one or two major products. Not Amazon. For the past couple of years at its launch events, the company has bombarded tech watchers with a torrent of new products. And so it wasn’t all that surprising when it announced a full 15 new products at a hardware event in Seattle last week. That’s more products than most big tech companies launch all year.
But if the glut of stuff was expected, what was perhaps less predictable was the variety of what was on show: smart night lights, a smart oven, and most surprisingly of all, smart wearable devices like eyeglasses and a ring.
The sheer number of hardware products has in the past made Amazon seem a bit like it was throwing absolutely anything at the wall to see what sticks. And to be sure, there was definitely that feeling this time around. But with an increasing push to get its Alexa voice platform absolutely everywhere, Amazon’s plans finally seem to be coming into focus: The company believes voice will supplant the smartphone as the next big platform.
If this all sounds a bit dystopian or worrying, that’s because it probably is. Amazon’s plan to become the voice layer would give it even more power. It also paves the way for Alexa to become a revenue machine. In much the same way Apple makes its billions simply because you need a smartphone to do all the things a smartphone can do, Alexa becomes the analog for voice.
Whether or not this actually plays out all depends on a number of factors, like how consumers react to these so-called Day One experiments, and also how Google, Apple, and others respond."
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