Looking a little like a silver Amazon Echo with a glowing ring attached to it, the C lamp integrates the Alexa voice service and backs it up with a microphone array and speakers. It is the first Alexa-connected lamp that does not need another third-party hub to work or control other smart-home devices that work with the ever-growing list of Alexa Skills. You can also, of course, control the lamp itself with your voice.
Amazon’s Alexa lets users ask general questions, control smart devices, make shopping lists, play games, stream music and more. The functionality is greatly enhanced when owners have an Amazon Prime account, which costs $99 a year.
“This introduction is the first in a suite of connected products we’re incubating to create simple, connected experiences that elevate what you can do at home,” Jeff Patton, general manager of connected home products for GE Lighting told Mashable. “Part of our incubation process involves embedding ourselves in homes, and as part of these living labs we quickly confirmed that voice is a powerful means to delight consumers and amplify smart home adoption.”
The unusual-looking lamp was designed, in part, by Richard Clarkson who may be best known for his cloud lamp, which is essentially a whimsical, hanging cloud light fixture that can produce storm-like effects on your ceilings and walls. Clarkson was clearly interested in changing things up as the C by GE lamp’s design has virtually no relation to anything you’d see in nature.
While still in development, the final C by GE lamp will offer the equivalent brightness of a 60-watt bulb and should be between 14-18 inches tall and about 13 inches in diameter.
This isn’t the first time an appliance manufacturer has promised deep Alexa integration. In 2015, Samsung told me they were bringing the first Alexa-enabled refrigerator to market, only to pull back on the announcement at the last minute, without any explanation. GE, though, has Amazon’s full support on this project. Perhaps 2017 will be a big year for third-party Alexa integration.
“We believe that voice is the most natural and convenient user interface, and the new GE LED lamp with Alexa makes it easy for customers to not only control smart devices throughout their homes, but also do things like listen to music, check the daily news or request a ride – using only their voice,” Aaron Brown, director of Amazon Alexa, told Mashable.
The lamp goes on pre-order early in 2017. Pricing has not been set.