iHome Puts Alexa on Your Nightstand
iHome, probably most commonly known for alarm clocks sporting iPhone docks—and often found on hotel nightstands—has announced a new bedside clock with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service build in.
iHome is showing the new device, the iAVS16, at this year’s CEDIA show. It offers your typical premium alarm clock features, including two alarms, USB charging, Bluetooth streaming and speaker phone, and network time syncing. A USB port allows 2.1 Amp charging for a phone, tablet, or watch, and the display also shows weather, temperature, and date information. We would have hoped for a departure from iHome’s iconic, if not dated, backlit segmented LCD display to an OLED or similar technology.
Rather than relying on AM or FM radio for audio, this clock uses a WiFi connection so you can stream music from a variety of services, including iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify, and more. And speaking of Spotify, the iAVS16 works with Spotify Connect, so you can control your music from the Spotify app. Don’t want to rely on an app to play music on your alarm clock? We can’t blame you. Two customizable function buttons on the clock let you preset your favorite playlist or album for easy access.
The real differentiator here, though, is the integration of Amazon’s voice services, which brings Amazon’s whole library of skills and smart home control. Far-field mics purport to pick up your requests from anywhere in the room where you’ve located your clock. In addition to the usual capabilities the voice services offer, you can also use your voice to set, stop, or snooze alarms.
Like most Alexa-enabled devices, the iAVS16 features an LED accent light at the base of the unit. Expect the usual blue tones to indicate voice service activity.
iHome plans to ship the iAVS16 soon, with pre-orders starting now. The suggested retail price is $149.99, which seems appropriate, given that this is essentially both a premium alarm clock combined with an Amazon Echo.
iHome is touting this as a “bedside clock system,” but clearly this might also fit nicely in an office or kitchen—particularly with the onboard voice services. Whether consumers will ultimately be comfortable putting a listening device in their bedrooms remains to be seen.