It wasn't long after Amazon introduced Echo, its smart Bluetooth speaker powered by the Alexa voice assistant, that it became clear the company was interested in more than just selling Echo. Since then Alexa has found its way into other devices, including a robot vacuum, a smiling robot, and now the first lighting product has been embedded with that helpful, if somewhat monotone voice.
In 2015, Amazon opened the "Alexa Voice Service" to third party hardware makers with a free set of APIs to allow developers to add the voice platform to their devices. On Wednesday, GE Lighting introduced a new LED lamp with Alexa built in.
That's right, we could soon be talking to our lamps to get the news, control other electronics around the house and maybe even pull the Tesla out of the garage. Users interact with the light just as they would the original Echo: with their voice - no need for a connected smart hub, smartphone or even Echo itself.
GE's smart LED light is just a concept at the moment from the company's "C By GE" brand of connected light products. There's no word on a name, price or even the final design, which could be a good thing because the conceptual model is a funky hoop of light that might not exactly jive with all styles of decor.
GE has said that the production version of the lamp will be designed in part by Richard Clarkson, who designed the Cloud interactive light that mimics a thundercloud.
Preorders for the final design of GE's talking table lamp are expected to begin in early 2017 with product availability in the second quarter of the year.