In a surprising turn of events, Amazon's interesting and cryptic Super Bowl ad has sparked both rumors and questions regarding the online retailer's voice assistant.
The short teaser, which also stars Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, suggests that something new might be on the way for Alexa.
The footage shows a woman brushing her teeth as she calls on the virtual voice assistant to inquire about the weather. The on-screen Amazon Echo lights up as Alexa begins to answer but suddenly coughs and sputters then shuts off.
What Happened To Her?
The next scene depicts a news report that the digital voice assistant has lost her voice. The setting is presumably inside Amazon's headquarters since Bezos is apparently on site. He approaches his team to verify what really happened and claims that it should be impossible given that it's obviously just an artificial intelligence program.
The team then confirms that backup replacements are available anytime should the CEO want it, but they are unsure if it will work. The video then fades to black with the Amazon logo and the date of Super Bowl LII shown afterward.
User Customization On The Way?
A lot of people tried to analyze what the Super Bowl Ad teaser alludes to given all the small clues in the 30-second video. Everyone seems to speculate that Alexa might become optional as Amazon finally reveals customization options for its virtual assistant technology.
Its direct competitors, Google Assistant from Google, Siri from Apple, and newly added Bixby from Samsung all feature options to toggle between a female voice, which is usually the default setting, and a male voice.
Another speculation suggests that Amazon might feature guest voices for Alexa such as from celebrities. It could be a limited-time promotion to re-engage owners who have not used their smart speakers for a while now.
The company has not officially confirmed anything yet, which leaves people no other option but to wait for the full ad during Super Bowl LII.
Apple Is Still Catching Up
Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant are currently the most established virtual assistants available due to the number of products that have them. Both companies have also licensed each one's respective digital voice assistant to third-party manufacturers, which helps with distribution.
Apple has yet to establish its presence with smart speakers since its HomePod is still coming. The product missed its original launch date supposedly due to some last minute adjustments and fine-tuning.
Nevertheless, The FCC recently cleared the HomePod for distribution alongside leaks that suppliers have already shipped the first batch of speakers. It looks like Amazon's Alexa might have some competition once the Super Bowl ads roll soon.