Alexa, Amazon‘s voice-controlled virtual assistant, has come a long way since its debut in 2014. What started as a smart speaker feature has evolved into a versatile technology implemented across a wide spectrum of consumer electronics. Alexa now powers everything from speakers and TVs to cars and wearables.
But with so many Alexa-enabled devices available today, it can get confusing to keep them all straight. In this guide, we‘ll break down the major categories and popular models to highlight the diverse Alexa gadgets on the market.
A Brief History of Alexa
Alexa was unveiled by Amazon in 2014 as the built-in virtual assistant for its new Echo smart speaker. The AI helper could understand natural voice commands to play music, look up information, set alarms, control smart home devices, and more.
The Echo‘s affordability and Alexa‘s usefulness made it a breakout hit. Amazon realized the assistant itself was the real draw, not just the speaker.
They began expanding Alexa into a platform and allowing its integration into third-party electronics. This kicked off the rise of Alexa as a ubiquitous voice assistant spanning everything from speakers to microwaves.
Overview of Alexa‘s Capabilities
Before diving into devices, let‘s recap what Alexa can actually do:
- Voice control – Alexa allows hands-free voice commands to operate compatible products. Wake word is "Alexa."
- Information – Get news, weather, sports scores, random facts, and more by asking questions.
- Music – Request songs, albums, playlists, or radio stations from streaming services like Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora.
- Smart home – Control lights, locks, thermostats, appliances and other connected home devices.
- Timers/Alarms – Set alarms, cooking timers, reminders, and calendar events.
- Shopping – Place orders for household supplies and other Amazon products using your voice.
- Skills – Alexa has over 100,000 third-party "skills" that add new capabilities via voice apps.
Now let‘s explore some of the most popular categories and models of Alexa devices available today:
The devices that started it all. Alexa smart speakers combine great audio quality with Amazon‘s voice assistant for hands-free voice control of music, information, smart home, and more.
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Amazon Echo Show
- Sonos One
- Bose Home Speaker 500
- LG SmartThinQ Hub
The Echo Dot is Amazon‘s most popular Alexa speaker, providing a compact and affordable entry point. The Echo Show adds a touchscreen for video calling and visual information. Premium audio brands like Sonos and Bose also offer Alexa built into their high-end smart speakers.
Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
Many smart TVs now integrate Alexa voice control functionality right into the set. Users can change channels, adjust volume, launch apps, and access compatible smart home devices completely hands-free.
- Element Smart TVs
- Sony Smart TVs
- Samsung Smart TVs
However, getting a smart TV with Alexa built-in tends to be more expensive than standalone media streamers.
Digital Media Players
For those who already own a "dumb" TV, Alexa digital media players offer an affordable way to add smart capabilities. These plug into the HDMI port to bring voice-controlled streaming media and apps to any TV.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
- Amazon Fire TV Cube
- Amazon Fire TV Omni Series
Amazon has cornered the market on Alexa media streamers. They range from the petite Fire TV Stick to the more powerful Fire TV Cube.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Alexa also enables voice interactivity on smartphones and tablets. The assistant can be used to place calls, send messages, set reminders, control media, and more hands-free on compatible mobile devices.
- Amazon Fire tablets
- Amazon Fire HD tablets
- HTC smartphones
- Motorola smartphones
- TCL Xess tablet
Amazon pushes its Alexa mobile integration with lines like Fire tablets and Fire phone. Alexa also comes included on select Android models from brands like Motorola.
Alexa has expanded to Windows 10 and MacOS devices, bringing her voice assistant capabilities to desktops and laptops. PC users can summon Alexa to open apps, search the web, play music, set reminders, hear the news, and other tasks.
- Asus ZenBook and VivoBook laptops
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 laptops
- HP Pavilion Wave desktop
- Acer Aspire and Spin notebooks
As with smartphones, Alexa on PCs competes directly with Windows‘ Cortana and macOS‘s Siri for voice commands. But Alexa‘s huge skill library gives it an edge.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo with Alexa built-in
Alexa‘s hands-free voice control makes it a natural fit for wearable devices like smartwatches and wireless earbuds. Users can ask Alexa to play/pause music, skip tracks, set reminders, dictate messages, get information, and more.
- Amazon Alexa Buds
- Fitbit smartwatches
- Michael Kors Access smartwatch
- Bose Frames audio sunglasses
- Jabra Elite wireless earbuds
Fitbit, Michael Kors, and Bose are among the brands putting Alexa into stylish wearable devices for on-the-go voice commands.
Bose Frames Alexa-enabled sunglasses
Alexa is also making driving more convenient. Supported vehicles let drivers access Alexa‘s voice controls for music, navigation, phone calls, shopping lists, and smart home devices.
This is done through Alexa mobile apps or in-car assistants like Echo Auto. Major automakers like Ford, BMW and Toyota have introduced Alexa integration.
Alexa seems to work its way into the most unexpected products. Here are some other examples:
- Xbox One – Surprisingly, Alexa can be enabled on Xbox game consoles for basic voice commands.
- Amazon Smart Oven – Alexa can help you cook by setting timers, recipes, and adjusting the temperature.
- Echo Frames – Alexa-enabled smart glasses let you speak commands and hear audio feedback discreetly.
- PetSafe Smart Feeder – Alexa can help feed your pet and remind you of feeding times.
- Echo Loop – A smart ring with tiny Alexa speaker for voice controls on the go.
Alexa‘s seemingly endless applicability means new and unusual device integrations will continue to appear.
The Takeaway on Alexa Devices
While Alexa originated as an intelligent assistant exclusively for Amazon Echo speakers, it now powers a diverse ecosystem of consumer electronics. Alexa can be found in everything from tiny earbuds to large smart TVs.
This comprehensive guide reviewed some of the most popular and practical Alexa devices available today. But we‘ve only scratched the surface of the virtual assistant‘s expanding presence.
If you found this overview helpful, be sure to bookmark our site for more guides about Alexa, smart home tech, and Amazon devices. What kind of Alexa integrations would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments!