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Amazon’s devices head Dave Limp is ditching the Echo for a smart TV

March 22, 2023
minute read

Amazon has been aiming to integrate its Alexa speech assistant into as many products as it can since the device's introduction in 2014. This includes wall plugs, earbuds, thermostats, and microwaves.

As it tries to solidify its position in the smart home industry, Amazon is now putting an increased emphasis on TVs in its drive to put Alexa everywhere. The business announced its first TV sets in 2021 that consumers could operate with Alexa's voice controls at a hardware presentation. After that debut, Amazon added three updated sizes of its QLED TVs and a less expensive model to its selection of Fire TVs on Wednesday.

Dave Limp, Amazon's head of hardware, claimed that the company's Fire TV division, which also offers streaming sticks, and the Fire TV Cube, a streaming box with Alexa, are the fastest-growing sector of the market for smart televisions. After selling 150 million Fire TV units in January, Amazon reported on Wednesday that it had sold more than 200 million units worldwide.

Nevertheless, as Amazon places more emphasis on TV, the business runs into the danger of consumers shelving its Echo smart speakers. These smart speakers were released in 2014 and quickly became a home craze. That isn't just an idle thought. Limp left his speaker in the living room.

Limp stated, "I only use my TV now; I no longer have an Echo in there." So, it performs two functions; nonetheless, its main purpose is to act as a top-of-the-line television.

As you might guess, Limp disputes the notion that an Alexa-enabled Fire TV will cause the company's Echo devices to become less profitable. The primary function of the TV is still entertainment, and thanks to Echo's various form factors, it can be used in any area of the house.

Amazon needs to distinguish itself from TV shows and movies and offer all streaming services if it is to compete in the fiercely competitive smart TV market. Amazon sees a chance to turn a TV into what is effectively a very large always-on smart display.

The Fire TV Ambient Experience is what the company refers to as. Also, other companies do it. For instance, Samsung and LG make TVs that show fine art or pictures when they aren't in use.

“As you move through your home, you'll notice a lot of dark panels that, in most cases, are turned off and leave large black gaps in the walls,” according to Limp. “How can we use them better?"

Amazon is increasing its investment in TVs at a time when CEO Andy Jassy has made dramatic cost-cutting moves, leading to the greatest layoffs in company history, a hiring freeze, and other projects that were scrapped.

The Limp organization, which is in charge of the creation of devices including Kindle e-readers and Alexa smart speakers, received some of the projected 27,000 layoffs. In Limp's division, over 2,000 workers were laid off as a result of the employment reduction.

According to Limp, layoffs in the Alexa group were concentrated in and around health-related services and more recent, "even higher beta" projects.

In Wednesday's announcement, Limp stated, "You can see that with the devices we're still incredibly committed to the Fire TV and Alexa businesses.”

Since Alexa's debut in 2014, Amazon has heavily invested in the technology and tasked top personnel with expanding it. This is partly under the direction of founder Jeff Bezos, who saw voice as a crucial component of how future users would interact with computers. Over 10,000 Amazon employees are engaged in Alexa-related projects.

Bezos' plan, however, was not widely embraced. According to Trade Algo, Amazon officials have expressed concern about Alexa user engagement declining. Some people worry that Echo speakers may follow other once-popular consumer goods that later lost their worth. What if Echo users restricted their use to fundamental features like alarm clocks, timers, and weather updates rather than using them for shopping lists, purchasing groceries, and creating schedules?

Yet, Limp said that Amazon Alexa usage is growing.

“Don't get me wrong, people use it as an alarm clock, but they also use it for a variety of other purposes,” according to Limp. “When you consider how useful Alexa is for the home, it's incredible. I believe Fire TV only makes that better.”

Eric Ng
Eric Ng
John Liu
Editorial Board
Bryan Curtis
Adan Harris
Managing Editor
Cathy Hills
Associate Editor

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