Amazon’s barrage of new gadgets shows why it’s the most dangerous and relentless company in tech


jeffbezos1
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is
beefing up his hardware assets at an astonishing
pace.

AP


In the span of about an hour on Wednesday morning Amazon went on
a hardware rampage, unleashing four
new Alexa-powered smart gadgets
 and a handful of
new accessories

It’s a sign of Amazon’s relentless pace: Already this year, it
launched the
Echo Look
(a voice-controlled camera) and the Echo Show (a
voice-controlled tablet/video phone), both of which constituted
major new product categories.

The obvious question among the shellshocked observers of
Amazon’s product barrage: Will it work?

Will anybody actually want the
Echo Spot
, a tiny alarm clock with a
camera that sits at their bedside? Does anybody really
want Echo
Buttons
, which act as single-button video game controllers?
And how big is the market for the
Echo Plus
, which helps make smarter homes?

The real answer to that question should
terrify any of Amazon’s competitors
. Because
ultimately, it doesn’t matter. 

I always go back to what CEO Jeff Bezos said after the notorious

high-profile flameout of the Fire Phone
, Amazon’s disastrous
attempt to compete with Android and iPhone. Make no mistake,

people lost their jobs
, and Amazon was forced to rethink its
hardware approach. And yet,
Bezos seemed unfazed by the whole affair
.

“If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much
bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of
them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little
blip,” Bezos said
 in an interview
with The Washington Post
.


amazon echo spot
The Amazon Echo Spot, a
$129 smart, voice-powered alarm clock

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Right now, Amazon Echo and the Alexa voice assistant look like
big hits. And yet, it’s still very early on in the market
(“Day
1
,” in Amazon lingo). Anything could happen.
Google Assistant
, a competitor to Amazon’s Alexa, could come
from behind and squeeze Amazon out. The almighty Apple is getting

ready to barge into the market
. It’s even possible that a
startup comes out of nowhere to win.

If that happens, don’t be surprised if Bezos simply
pulled the cord, killed Alexa, salvaging whatever tech it could
for future products, and moved on to the next thing.

I’m not saying that will happen. Just that
it could. If Amazon can’t win at voice
assistants, it’ll move on, just as it did in phones. After all,
it makes its money from retail.


new amazon echo
The new $99 Amazon
Echo

Amazon

And that means that Amazon has nothing to lose. If Echo and Alexa
dominate, Amazon owns a huge chunk of the future. If they don’t,
Amazon is always willing to cut its losses. So in the
meantime it can afford to take risks, put Alexa into
experimental new devices, no matter how seemingly wacky, and
generally try everything and anything to see what sticks.

All of which is to say, I don’t envy Google, or Samsung, or
Apple, or any other company that has to compete with Amazon.
There’s nothing more dangerous that a competitor will nearly
bottomless resources and nothing to lose. 


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