Oral-B sold a $230 Alexa toothbrush and then pulled the plug

As we are now seen with AI, when a new technology becomes popular, companies will do almost anything to cram that technology into their products. However, trends fade and corporate priorities change – leading to bricked devices and buyer’s remorse.

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

The Guide toothbrush charging dock can connect to the Internet and act like an Alexa speaker that you can talk to and Alexa can respond from. According to Procter & Gamble’s 2020 announcement, owners can “ask to play music, listen to the news, check the weather, control smart home devices and even order additional brush heads by saying ‘Alexa, order a replacement Oral-B toothbrush head'”.

At the time, Oral-B also boasted that, in partnership with Alexa, Guide had opened up “truly connected bathrooms.”

Oral-B discontinued app for Alexa setup

On February 15, Oral-B blocked the Guide’s ability to set up Alexa by stopping the Oral-B Connect app needed to complete the process. Guide owners can still use the Oral-B App for other features; however, the ability to use the charging dock as an Alexa smart speaker — a big draw in product announcements and advertising — is severely limited.

The device will still work with Alexa if the user sets it up before the Oral-B connection is disabled, but establishing a new Wi-Fi connection or reestablishing a lost connection will not work without Connect.

That was a problem for Patrick Hubley, who learned that the Oral-B stopped connecting when his dock accidentally disconnected from Wi-Fi, and he tried using Connect to fix it. He told Ars Technica that when he tries using the Alexa wake word now, the speaker says, “I’m having trouble connecting to the Internet. For help, visit the companion app on your device.”

Hubley tried and failed to receive a refund or replacement toothbrush through Oral-B’s support channels. He said he will no longer buy Oral-B or Alexa products.

I just bought this toothbrush from Amazon because it was the only way to get the waterproof Alexa speaker I wanted for the bathroom… I was ready to use both Alexa and Oral-B.

The connection no longer works on installed devices. Some users have also stated on Amazon that they can no longer set up the Guide to use Alexa. However, the Guide is still available on Amazon at the time of this writing, with an image on the box reading “Alexa Integration” and the product title reading “Alexa Integration” and “Amazon Add-Ons Enabled Dash”. This listing is from a third-party seller, but since Oral-B released the Instructions exclusively through Amazon, shoppers could easily not realize that the Alexa setup was broken.

I reached out to Amazon about the issue, 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 set up through the Oral-B Connect app. Oral-B instructions are available for sale by an independent seller on Please contact Oral-B with any further questions about their application.

Oral-B’s response

Oral-B discontinued this Guide about two years ago and now only has a mobile app called Oral-B. If a toothbrush brand is going to have any apps, one seems like the most logical number. It’s unclear why Alexa capabilities that aren’t built into the Oral-B app still exist.

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


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