Meanwhile, Google and Apple could try to push their own assistants beyond the smartphone, where they play more of a supporting role.
Amazon and Alphabet's subsidiary Google both discounted their virtual assistant speakers so deeply over the holiday shopping season that they likely lost a few dollars per unit, highlighting a sharply different strategy from Apple as it prepares its HomePod speaker, analysts said.
Only Whirlpool has officially made an Alexa skill for ovens and microwaves at the moment, but we have no timeline as to when we'll actually see an Alexa-capable oven or microwave from the company aside from "soon". This step also shows Amazon's continued dominance in the voice assistant market.
Do you really need a desk lamp or refrigerator that's always listening for voice commands? Amazon has added cooking abilities to its Smart Home Skill framework, letting you control microwaves (and eventually conventional ovens) with your voice. That means manufacturers can begin building the commands into their products. For third-party hardware makers, the challenge this year will be to find the use cases that actually stick.
Smart-speaker owners are showing some brand loyalty.
Alexa now operates through Amazons' Echo and Echo Dot speakers and cooking requests will be made via these devices.
Could Alexa be the next big thing in 2018?
The market in China will remain muted under the dominance of Amazon and Google, though Alibaba, JD.com and Xiaomi have already launched smart speakers to test the waters.
Over on its developer blog, Amazon has revealed that an update to its Home Skill API will allow appliance manufacturers to add Alexa support to cloud-connected microwave ovens, which apparently exist. Expect something similar from Google Assistant, which at the moment only supports voice transactions for physical goods and services.
More than that, we're at a crucial early adoption period for home speakers, where people are choosing sides.