Here at AutomateOn we’re obvious big lovers and believers in automation. . What we don’t believe is utilising technology for technology sake. Or using automation or voice assistants as a marketing gimmick, hiding behind these technologies with poorly-executed products. This just makes our cause for evangelising personal automation much much harder.

Case in point is the “AmazonBasics Microwave oven“. Definitely not one of Amazon’s own branded products, it’s a small microwave that can be connected to an Echo device. This allows you to set the microwave timer either by specific time instructions (eg, “Alexa, set the microwave for 30 seconds”) or based on item (eg, “Alexa, reheat 500 grams of vegetables”). One other neat little feature is that you can reorder groceries (I guess that are microwaveable). There’s a dedicated Alexa button if your hands are full or if you’re tired of saying “Alexa” all the time. By pressing the button you can just say “set the timer” or “reheat 10 ounces of rice” for example.

Is it the worst example of misuse of voice AI and automation? It comes pretty close. It brings up a lot of questions that just scratches our heads. Don’t you still have to put the food into the microwave anyway? If you have to press the Alexa button, why not just press the other buttons to set the timer since you’re there anyway? But the main reason is why?

Everything from the small size, low power output and lacklustre design leaves us disappointed but even more motivated to evangelise the benefits of personal automation and voice assistants.