Posted on Apr 3, 2016 | No Comments

Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, is always improving, and we can see that with every new product, update, or launch. Amazon’s Alexa is able to identify the person in front of it and react accordingly; and for me, that’s where my daily routine is. I want my voice to be a part of the conversation, and Amazon’s Alexa has been a huge factor in that. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t have to press the “ask” button to invoke the new functionality. But at least the Amazon Echo is becoming a viable companion and people are liking the option of using the coupon codes at to get a discount on their device.

To further cement my daily routine with Alexa, Amazon has just released a few smart home accessories. You can pick up a Bluetooth speaker called the SmartThings Hub ($50), a multi-sensor hub called the Wink ($50), and a range extender called the Wink Extend ($100). All three offer voice control, and I have been able to use Alexa to control every single smart device in my home, save for the Nest, which, alas, is not supported by the SmartThings Hub.

Alexa supports a number of integrations with existing smart home devices, including Amazon’s own Echo and Echo Dot. Alexa can even control a Philips Hue lightbulb, using the Wink Connected Home hub, and has been a good match with the Amazon Tap, which integrates with Google Home and the new Google Home Max.

Alexa’s SmartThings Hub can also control connected lights and other smart devices, and now, thanks to a $15 price increase, Alexa-enabled lamps are priced a bit higher, too.

I have been loving my Echo Dots, but they aren’t available for sale yet (they are a product of Amazon, not Google, after all), so we had to pick one up ourselves, and it was easy to install.

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