Amazon has its own take on the concept of crowdfunding, which could determine whether some cool smart gadgets that it wants to make, will ever see the light of the day. The program is called Build It, and the idea is simple—if enough people show interest and preorder a gadget, Amazon will manufacture and sell it. Otherwise, the idea will be shelved, and we can all regret it later. The first three smart gadgets on the agenda as part of Amazon Build It are a Smart Cuckoo Clock, a Smart Nutrition Scale and a Smart Sticky Note Printer. The rules are very clear. Preorder the ones you like, by March 19, else these ideas will be put on the backburner. What happens if you don’t preorder now but want to buy these gadgets later? You may have the option of ordering these at a later date, for a different price, depending on stocks and availability. Amazon’s idea is to push the Day 1 Editions of special gadgets, much like the Echo Frames smart glasses. The crowdfunding is a good way to gauge interest.
At this time, the Amazon Build It platform will focus on smart gadget ideas that add to the Alexa virtual assistant ecosystem. Unfortunately for us in this part of the world, the current Build It preorders aren’t accepting orders from India nor are these prepped for shipping to India at this time, though we hope that changes soon. Amazon makes it very clear that the products will go into production if only the preorder goal is met. If not, and you’ve already gotten your preorder in, you will not be charged for it at all. “We’ll share a few of our favorite concepts for exciting new devices that work with Alexa. For a limited time only, you can pre-order the ones you want for a chance to make them real. If an item reaches its pre-order goal by a certain date, we’ll build it—and you’ll be among the first to get it,” says Amazon.
The Smart Cuckoo Clock is priced at $79.99, and it brings the old-world charm of a mechanical cuckoo bird which pops out from the clock, as well as connectivity with the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, built-in speakers as well as timers. This can be placed on a shelf or mounted on a wall, in which case you’ll have the optional pendulum that can also be installed. Unlike the old-world cuckoo clocks, this can be set for mute at specific times or intervals in a day and could be pretty handy for getting timers noticed.
The Smart Sticky Note Printer makes it rather easy to call out to the printer for a print. Amazon says this uses the thermal printing technology and that means it’ll never need ink or toner refills. Just paper rolls. You’ll be able to speak reminders, to-dos, shopping lists etc to the printer and quickly print these out for sticking to your workstation, bathroom mirror and so on. The Smart Sticky Note Printer is priced at $89.99 for preorders.
Last but not least is the Smart Nutrition Scale which also plugs into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem you may already have at home and can be a cooking companion in your kitchen. “Alexa, ask Smart Scale how much sugar is in these blueberries,” or “Alexa, ask Smart Scale to weigh 200 calories of blueberries” are two potential scenarios that Amazon illustrates. This will also get you access to thousands of ingredients and food based on the weight. The Smart Nutrition Scale is priced at $34.99 for the preorders.