Plug-and-pray no more: Amazon’s new smart plug for Alexa is a gift from the smart-home gods

Amazon’s new Smart Plug was released today but is already sold out. (GeekWire Photo / Todd Bishop)

“New plug named First plug found. To control it, say ‘Alexa, turn on First plug.’ “

My jaw dropped when I saw that notification pop up on my iPhone lock screen shortly after plugging in my first Amazon Smart Plug this week. Because this actually isn’t my first smart plug. It’s probably more like my 50th, including those I’ve purchased for home and the GeekWire offices, and bought for family and friends.

Never has the setup been this easy. In fact, the third-party voice-controlled plugs I’ve tried have been so difficult to set up that I stopped buying them for other people.

I have spent countless hours trying to set up third-party smart plugs with Alexa. To have this happen immediately after plugging in the new Amazon Smart Plug was amazing. Zero setup. The trick: I had previously stored my WiFi password with Amazon. First-party FTW.

— toddbishop (@toddbishop) October 10, 2018

The new $25 “official” Amazon Smart Plug was released today but is already sold out until Oct. 24, as of this writing. It’s probably the least sexy product in the array of new Alexa-enabled gadgets announced for this fall. But in my mind, it has the potential to have the greatest impact, because it makes the most basic and fundamental of smart home devices far less painful.

Under normal circumstances, using a smart plug or other third-party device with Alexa requires first installing a smartphone app from the device manufacturer, creating an account with that company or remembering your password for your existing account, or more likely resetting the password to gain access, then linking that app to the Alexa app, praying that everything will work, swearing when it doesn’t, realizing it’s because your WiFi settings aren’t compatible with the plug, fixing those settings, then trying five more times, yelling at Alexa, getting weird looks from your family or co-workers, and then after an hour or so of misery, suddenly realizing the plug has magically started working, for no apparent reason.

At least, that is my normal process.

So you can see why I’m a feeling breathless about a plug, of all things.

Yes, the horizontal design is slick, ensuring that it doesn’t cover other plugs in an electrical outlet or power strip. The easy-to-access manual on/off button on the left side is …read more

Source:: GeekWire

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