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Amazon is certainly not afraid to try all sorts of different things and take plenty of chances when it comes to in-house hardware, releasing over the years everything from a quickly forgotten smartphone
to an experimental smart speaker that somehow started a global craze, not to mention smart displays, tablets, e-readers, digital media players, true wireless earbuds
, Alexa-supporting eyeglasses, a fitness band
(without a screen), and even a good old fashioned wall clock (with voice control).
While it may not seem like it, that still leaves the e-commerce giant with numerous ideas for Alexa-enabled devices that could be deemed too nichy or downright bizarre to ever connect with a mainstream audience.
Introducing "Build It"
In order to gauge interest for a series of new concepts, Amazon is today launching the aptly named Build It program
under the Day 1 Editions banner that has already brought us the Echo Frames and Echo Loop back in 2019.
Unlike those two products, which were initially available on an invite-only basis and guaranteed to ship to anyone who could get their hands on an invitation, the freshly unveiled Smart Cuckoo Clock, Smart Nutrition Scale, and Smart Sticky Note Printer may or may not see daylight in the July - September 2021 period.
If you want to help make any of the three happen, you can do so by putting your money where your mouth is. You have 30 days to join what essentially amounts to a much higher-profile crowdfunding campaign than your usual Kickstarter or Indiegogo project. Of course, Amazon is more than capable of manufacturing these things on its own, asking for your hard-earned cash simply to make sure the clock, scale, and printer can generate some enthusiasm among the company's hardcore fanbase.
Curiously enough, it's not entirely clear how many units need to be pre-ordered or how much money committed to each concept for them to become a commercial reality. Instead, Amazon is choosing to display a progress bar on each product webpage showing you how close these are to hitting their respective goals.
The first three "concepts"
At the time of this writing, the Smart Sticky Note Printer is by far the most popular member of the trio, fetching $89.99 during the special pre-order window and $114.99 afterwards. If this will be built, which seems all but guaranteed already, you'll be able to quickly and easily print shopping lists, to-dos, recipes, and all kinds of other fun little notes using just your voice... and this compact thermal printer that doesn't need ink or toner to run.
Up next, we've got a decidedly elegant Smart Cuckoo Clock with an analog face, swinging pendulum, and well, a mechanical cuckoo. This fancier (and weirder) take on the existing Echo Wall Clock
currently costs $79.99, supporting a number of voice-controlled actions like setting timers and alarms.
Last but not necessarily least, the $34.99 Smart Nutrition Scale has plenty of time to reach its goal as well, promising to keep you informed about what you're eating. In addition to actually weighing your ingredients, the smart scale will allow you to monitor your calorie, carb, and sugar intake without lifting a finger.
Keep in mind that you can always cancel your pre-order if you have a change of heart and you won't be charged until (or rather if) your "concept" of choice ships. March 19 is the end of the pre-order period, after which you "may" get the option to purchase "select devices" at their full price in "limited" numbers.