Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Amazon Made a Voice-Activated Microwave

I didn’t start this week intending to be kind of a jerk about Amazon nearly every day, but, well, they make it so easy. Take their newest creation: a microwave. Sarah Perez, TechCrunch:

Perhaps some microwaves may not have the most intuitive interfaces, but the learning curve isn’t steep. After the first time you learn to program the power level or enter in how many pounds of meat you’re defrosting, you generally retain that knowledge for later use.

But even if you don’t buy into the premise that microwave controls are a challenge to solve, there’s still the novelty aspect of the voice-activated microwave. If it takes the same or less time, but “feels fun,” some consumers may still buy it, I suppose. (???)

Unfortunately, it wasn’t really all that fun.

In fact, it was often frustrating.

I kind of get the idea behind this product. I don’t know anyone who uses the special function buttons on their microwave. But that’s not because it’s necessarily complicated to use those functions on a conventional microwave; it’s because anything beyond time entry adds unnecessary complication.

Also, this may say more about me than this product idea, but if I started telling friends and family when they came over that they should try talking to the microwave, they would think that I was pulling their leg.

I recently moved into a new apartment that came with a microwave because it’s one of those ones that doubles as a range hood. Every time I want to turn on the light above the stove, I have to actively remember that the button for that is on the microwave keypad. It’s ridiculous. All anyone I know wants from a microwave are buttons for time and a big “start” button — that’s it.