It’s like Kickstarter for Alexa. Artists, startups and organizations typically turn to Kickstarter to pitch new products and hit a certain funding goal to help the project get off the ground. Now Amazon is doing something similar, except the trillion-dollar company certainly doesn’t need help raising money for its production process.
If a concept reaches Amazon’s pre-order goal, it’ll arrive on doorsteps this summer. If interest is lacking, Amazon will stand down and shoppers won’t be charged.
If Amazon were to lean on this Kickstarter model more often, it would effectively gain additional user data that could help it launch countless products — some perhaps similar to others already on the market — while minimizing the chance and cost of any flops in the process, potentially making it that much more of a fearsome competitor.
The three new concepts introduced this week come from inventors, designers and engineers within Amazon: To start, there’s a $89.99 hands-free smart sticky note printer the size of a receipt printer you’d see next to a cash register. It works with Alexa to print shopping lists, reminders and calendar events on small Post-it-sized notes. Meanwhile, a $34.99 smart scale lets you ask Alexa to weigh 200 calories of blueberries and provides nutritional information for thousands of ingredients and food based on weight. Finally, the cuckoo clock ($79.99) features a mechanical pop-out cuckoo bird, built-in speakers for timers and alarms and can be mounted on the wall or sit on a shelf.
The company said it has produced some workable models for each item to make sure development was possible.
The company told CNN Business it won’t publicly list the goal amount for the new products, but product pages will display a percentage progress bar to show how close they are to the benchmark.