Amazon Echo Gets a New Feature for Music Lovers
Amazon’s Echo is getting better at playing music.
The online retail giant revealed a new feature on Tuesday for its Internet-connected speaker that lets people play music in certain areas of their homes.
People will be able to assign their Echoes into “groups” for specific areas of their homes like “downstairs.” They can then ask the Alexa voice assistant, which powers the Echo, to play specific songs on just those downstairs speakers instead of in the entire house.
Although it’s been possible to do something similar for years with conventional stereo receivers using manual controls, using voice to do so is new and something that Amazon (AMZN) and other companies like Google (GOOG) are intensely marketing with their home speakers.
Amazon’s new home music playing feature is still limited, however. Currently, people can only use it with music-streaming services Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. Amazon said it would eventually be compatible with popular streaming services Spotify and SiriusXM, but it didn’t say when.
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Amazon also debuted a tool for developers that lets third-party manufacturers link their audio systems to Amazon’s Echo and the smaller Echo Dot. Some of the companies that will incorporate the tool into their products include Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung.
“Alexa set the standard for voice in smart homes, so working with Amazon to bring voice control to Sonos for the first time was an obvious choice,” said Sonos vice president of software Antoine Leblond said in a statement.
Sonos is also planning to debut its own web-connected speaker this fall, although not much is known about it, according to entertainment and business publication Variety.