Amazon recently acquired another startup, the maker of the beloved technological product Eero, a mesh router that improves Wi-Fi dead spots at home. For that, you may have said: OK, then?
Of course, it is only another purchase made by the largest online retailer in the world. But, more importantly, it shows how much Amazon wants to do more than just make our homes "smart." He wants to transform our homes into "Amazon Home".
Think about it for a minute.
Your guests are greeted at the door by a video ring from Ring, a company bought by Amazon, bought back in 2018. They enter a living room where an Amazon Echo speaker plays music while waiting for voice commands .
Then they head to the kitchen, where an Amazon microwave warms the dinner – based on products purchased naturally from Whole Foods, owned by Amazon – while lowering the volume of the Amazon Fire TV Edition television.
You ask Alexa to reduce the intensity of smart lights with the help of the only smart product in the house, which does not yet belong to Amazon, the Philips N.V. Hue system.
And Wi-Fi, the guts of the system, without which no other product could work, is controlled by the last device purchased by Amazon, Eero.
Are you comfortable with Amazon's control at home? On Twitter, some did not.
"A terrible news," wrote @RickWilliams in a tweet. "I liked the fact that they (Eero) seemed very concerned about their privacy and very responsive.They will now belong to one of the biggest data givers in the market. . "
"It's a terrible news for my privacy concerns," tweeted @SteveRiggins at Eero. "I do not leave Alexa at home for these reasons and now you have me asleep."
Amazon and Eero downplayed privacy issues, saying that the mesh router did not share Wi-Fi information. But, as Eero is doing now, Amazon will soon know how you're using your Wi-Fi network, whether it's on a computer or on a cell phone, just by being on your home network.
The technicians liked Eero because it solved a major problem: helping eliminate the uneven Wi-Fi service at home. In his 2016 article, Edward Baig of USA TODAY said, "My dead zones seem to be a dead problem."
The Eero was the first product of this type in a category soon imitated by Google, Netgear, Linksys and others. A three pack of Eero (for several rooms) is selling for $ 500; Google has reduced it in its $ 250 version.
Now, with Amazon versus Eero, "you can not really escape Amazon at home," said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies. "A large company provides too many devices."
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights, does not believe it.
"Amazon may have the biggest part of the house, but it's no different from the iPhone or Android phone or the (smart) home-worn watch," he says. Because every step and every move is monitored by Apple and Google via the smartphone.
Rival Google offers only two products for the smart home, its Google Eero-type Wi-Fi system and the Nest Thermostat, while Apple does not market any under its brand name.
Neither Apple nor Google has been so aggressive in acquiring smart home products. And when a company like Amazon wants to add more products to your home, it means competing products can not be easily used. Alexa, is there room for a Google Home Hub video speaker that runs under Google Assistant? Because you can not use both interchangeably.
Sonos One, the connected speaker currently taking orders Alexa, is a perfect example. Later this year, Sonos will update the product to also accept Google orders, but not at the same time. The user will have to assign one or the other as personal assistant of his choice.
Amazon is famous for its lack of smartphones trying to enter the market too late after Apple and Google. Since then, he has built a giant appliance business with electronic readers, tablets, connected speakers, security cameras and, now, smart home products.
A recent visit to one of the Amazon Books stores in Los Angeles shows how aggressive Amazon becomes in this category, with much of the store dedicated to "Smart Home Made Easy".
The cost of entry based on what was on display: a good $ 1,000. Now let's add the price of an Eero, which Amazon could significantly reduce from its current price of $ 500. For the Ring, Amazon reduced its price by half, from 199 USD to 100 USD.
Good news for consumers. But at what cost?
In other new techniques this week
One can not get there in New York: in other news of Amazon, the online retailer has given up its plans to open a second head office in the most populous city of New York City. America, in the midst of a local political opposition. "For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive collaborative relationships with local and local elected officials, who will provide long-term support," the company said. New York and Virginia won a national contest last year to win the new headquarters of Amazon. Amazon announced that it was not planning to reopen the contest and that it would be "as planned in northern Virginia and Nashville", where it adds a mini-campus.
Apple: Hooray for Hollywood. The iPhone maker traditionally organizes a March event to present new products. This year's edition is expected to introduce a new entertainment service aimed at Netflix and Amazon Prime. Apple has recruited a cream of the cream of Hollywood stars to participate: Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Kristen Wig.
Google's new context menu will help you organize your Gmail account.
JibJab sold. The company originally selfie electronic cards that present you with humorous situations has been sold to Catapult Capital. The firm was founded in 1999 by the brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis (remember the first video "This Land is Your Land", starring John Kerry and his president, George W. Bush?) Who left the firm , after the sale. They went to Storybots, the animated children's series on Netflix and used as a teaching aid.
This week's Talking Tech podcasts
Note for next year: Whole Foods once again offered the best prices for Valentine's Day flowers. Now, all eyes are on Mother's Day.
Fabric introduces a safe to allow couples to share their finances.
In anticipation of the March event of Apple.
How to broadcast free movies and TV shows.
Branch: the application for colleagues to exchange shifts
And that sums up the latest Talking Tech news. Do not forget to subscribe to http://technewsletter.usatoday.com, listen to the daily Talking Tech podcast on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to audio online and to me. follow (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.