Amazon’s Alexa has seen many devices adopt its AI functionalities. While the smart home AI is mostly limited to the speaker form-factor, no one has broken the mould yet, until now, when GE introduced the Sol table lamp that has integrated Alexa and a very functional lighting solution to boot as well.
The product was first showcased at CES and has now materialized for the general public to purchase soon. The need of the product has already been established by the company, claiming that there could be numerous ways in which the device could be used; as a kitchen appliance, or a bed-side accessory or even in a study perhaps. The device is essentially an Amazon Echo, that is not a speaker, but instead is a lamp.
The lamp itself is the USP of the device, that is a 60-watt powered source of light and can be configured to turn multiple gradients of warm and cold light. This is done via the companion app and connected through Bluetooth by the user’s phone. Quite interestingly, there is also a way to make the light emit in a way that resembles a clock to tell the time, which is a neat touch by the makers. The light as well, can double as a companion to help users sleep at night, altering between different temperatures of light to make the perfect sensation for sleeping.
The lamp still retains the typical Echo features as well, by having a small microphone and speaker at the base of the setup. So, users will be able to do everything that they already do with the Echo and the Dots like asking for the weather, playing music as well as the over 10,000 skills currently in Alexa’s library. Of course, the user will be able to ask the lamp to dim the light or brighten it up by speech alone. One great feature that the lamp does, which can outdo the Echo, is that it will be able to control the GE smart bulbs as well. Should the user decide, the device can also be made compatible with Apple HomeKit. Right now, there is scope for the device to be compatible with other HomeKits as well, meaning that we might even get to see compatibility with Google Home too down the line.
Reports indicate that the lamp will be arriving in September of this year. It will however, be a little pricier than the Echo when it launches in retail, by $50 more. Those interested in being early-adopters of a new kind of smart-home controlling device that isn’t a speaker, will have to shell out $200. For a device that also has a decent speaker and Alexa with the added lighting features, we think that this is a product worth paying for.