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Amazon’s Echo conquered the smart home — what comes next?

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Amazon is gearing up for its latest hardware event where it’s expected to announce its latest smart home gear. Based on prior years, we could see new Echo speakers, Alexa updates, Eero routers, Ring cameras, and more.

But looking at Amazon’s smart home lineup right now, the question isn’t whether Amazon will have new hardware to show off. It’s whether Amazon can convince its current customers to buy them.

Look at the current slate of Echos or Eeros, for example. They’re already excellent products. Smart home gear has a much longer lifespan than, say, a laptop or a smartphone, where leaps in design and new features are far more apparent. So how do you convince someone that their smart speaker needs an upgrade without a new screen or better camera to sell them on? Yes, Amazon might be able to get first-gen Echo owners to upgrade — the newer versions offer significant boosts in sound quality and design — but what about the owners of second-gen devices or the most recent third-gen wave?

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Take the most recent Echo Dot, which Amazon released back in 2018, for example. The design is still sleek and elegant, and the sound quality still great. There’s even a version with a clock built in. What else is there to upgrade? Adding USB-C would make me, a gadget-obsessed tech writer who dreams of universal port standards, happy, but it’s not an upgrade worth paying for if you already own one. And while Amazon could slim down the size or improve the sound quality, it’s hard to imagine that either of those would dramatically improve the day-to-day experience of using the current model.

Those diminishing returns are precisely why Amazon’s more recent efforts have been less about getting Echo owners to upgrade and more about expanding where its Echo devices are put. Amazon might not be able to convince you to replace the aging Echo in your living room, but it could persuade you to get an Echo Dot for your other rooms, an Echo Show for your kitchen, an Echo Studio for your office, an Echo Auto for your car, even wearable Echo Buds, Loop rings, and Frames so you’re in contact with Alexa at all times.

But after last year’s slate of hardware, it’s hard to imagine where else Amazon can sell you on putting a smart speaker. Amazon’s last round of speakers was already better than ever — and in more places than ever. But even the idea of selling more types of Echos to blanket your home or person has limits. At some point, Alexa can already hear you wherever you are in your house. And attempts to draw Alexa outside the home — with things like Echo Auto or the array of personal devices, smartphone apps, and smartwatches — haven’t really caught on yet.

Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Amazon does have another option, though: instead of making your smart home setup bigger by adding more devices, the company can help make your existing smart home smarter with new Alexa features or capabilities.

However, that approach bears the risk of complexity. Part of the magic of Echo devices is their relative simplicity: you ask Alexa to do a thing or answer a question, and it happens. Add too many features or options on top, and it becomes a smaller, less functional computer that you have to manage. No one wants to have to remember a specific convoluted command or sequence for getting something done.

It’s a strange impasse. Amazon, in many ways, is hindered by its own success, with a product lineup that’s strong (and age-resistant) enough that it’s hard to make a compelling argument to upgrade or buy more products. Like Alexander, there seem to be no more worlds left for Alexa to conquer — so where does Amazon go next?

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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