An Alexa-enabled alarm clock feels like the perfect nightstand gadget

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I hate my alarm clock. I like sleeping, and every morning, without fail, my alarm clock ruins that for me by loudly and unsubtly waking me up. Of course, that’s the whole point of an alarm clock, but there are other annoying things about my alarm, too. It’s old, it can only charge a single 30-pin iPod, and it can’t use my carefully curated collection of song snippets as alarms for shocking me awake in the morning.

As a smart alarm clock with Amazon’s Alexa assistant built in, the Sandman Doppler would probably earn my ire by rudely waking me up each morning. But by the same token, the Sandman Doppler also seems like it might fix all my other problems and become the perfect bedside gadget.

Currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, the Sandman Doppler is the second alarm clock project from Palo Alto Innovation. The first, the original Sandman clock — which offered a built-in USB hub for bedside charging — failed to reach its funding goals, but the company succeeded in bringing it to the market anyway. Now, the company is back with the Sandman Doppler, which builds on the original Sandman clock with what looks like some genuinely useful smart features.

First up is the aforementioned Alexa integration. That means that, in addition to adding voice controls to Sandman Doppler for things like setting or snoozing alarms, you’ll also be able to use the clock for anything that an Alexa does, including music playback, smart home controls, and news updates. The Sandman Doppler also features programmable smart buttons that can be set to activate connected devices without voice commands.

The Sandman Doppler has Bluetooth so you can directly stream music from your phone, and it features six built-in USB ports for charging your daily slew of gadgets. Cleverly, Palo Alto Innovation is making the ports removable, so that users will be able to replace them with an optional USB-C board farther down the line.


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Lastly, the Sandman Doppler offers a simple and useful display for the actual “clock” part. The colors for the numbers are customizable and (most crucially) dimmable, with the ability to set automated schedules so that your clock isn’t blinding you at night. At the top of the display, a line of colorful dots gives you an at-a-glance view of traffic on your commute, while the bottom displays the weather. It’s pretty much everything I want from a smart alarm, with none of the cruft. And users can use a companion smartphone app to do things like set alarms and customize settings, even away from home.

That said, while the Sandman Doppler does look like a great product, and Palo Alto Innovation has gotten a similar product on the market already, the company is still a long way away from shipping it. Final units are expected to arrive next July, which isn’t always encouraging to see on a crowdfunded project like this.

The Sandman Doppler is available to back on Kickstarter for $119.

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