Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeTechnologyOral-B Sold a $230 Alexa Toothbrush—and Then Pulled the Plug

Oral-B Sold a $230 Alexa Toothbrush—and Then Pulled the Plug

As we are currently seeing with AI, when a new technology becomes popular, companies will do almost anything to include that technology in their products. However, trends fade and corporate priorities change, resulting in bricked devices and buyer’s remorse.

That’s what’s happening to some who bought Oral-B toothbrushes with Amazon Alexa built in. Oral-B launched the Guide for $230 in August 2020, but blocked the ability to configure or reconfigure Alexa on the product in February of this year. As of this writing, the Guide is still available through a third-party Amazon seller.

The Guide toothbrush charging base was able to connect to the Internet and function as an Alexa speaker that you could talk to and from which Alexa could respond. Owners could “ask to play music, listen to the news, check the weather, control smart home devices, and even order more brush heads by saying ‘Alexa, order Oral-B brush head replacements,'” according to Procter & Gamble’s announcement. of 2020.

Oral-B also boasted at the time that by partnering with Alexa, the Guide ushered in “the truly connected bathroom.”

Discontinued Oral-B app to configure Alexa

On February 15, Oral-B blocked Guide’s ability to set up Alexa by suspending the Oral-B Connect app needed to complete the process. Guide owners can still use the Oral-B app for other functions; However, the ability to use the charging base as an Alexa smart speaker (a big draw in the product’s ad and marketing) is severely limited.

The device should still work with Alexa if users set it up before Oral-B shut down Connect, but setting up a new Wi-Fi connection or reestablishing a lost one doesn’t work without Connect.

That’s a problem for Patrick Hubley, who learned that Oral-B discontinued Connect when its base inadvertently disconnected from Wi-Fi and tried to use Connect to fix it. He told Ars Technica that when he tries to use Alexa’s wake word now, the speaker says, “I’m having trouble connecting to the Internet. For help, go to your device’s companion app.”

Hubley attempted but was unsuccessful in obtaining a refund or replacement brush through Oral-B’s support channels. He says he will no longer buy Oral-B or Alexa products.

I only bought this toothbrush on Amazon because it was the only way to get the waterproof Alexa speaker I wanted for the bathroom… I’m ready to be done with Alexa and Oral-B.

Connect no longer works on devices where it is already installed. Some users have also stated on Amazon that they can no longer configure Guide to use Alexa. However, the Guide is still available on Amazon as of this writing, with images of its box saying “Alexa built-in” and the product title saying “Alexa built-in” and “Amazon Dash Replenishment enabled.” The listing comes from a third-party seller, but since Oral-B released the Guide exclusively through Amazon, it’s easy for buyers to not realize that their Alexa setup is flawed.

I contacted Amazon about this and spokesperson Connor Rice told me:

The Oral-B Guide still has Alexa built in and customers can continue to use the Alexa experience on devices configured through the Oral-B Connect app. The Oral-B Guide is currently sold by an independent seller on Amazon.com. Please contact Oral-B if you have any further questions about your application.

Oral-B’s response

Oral-B discontinued the Guide about two years ago and now only has a mobile app, called Oral-B. If a brand of toothbrush is going to have any applications, one seems to be the reasonable maximum number. It’s unclear why Alexa capabilities weren’t integrated into the still-standing Oral-B app.

When I contacted Procter & Gamble, a company spokesperson said:

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments