Amazon has launched Multi-room Music, a new feature for its Echo devices which allows users to control their music on more than one Echo gadget. The feature can also be used to sync music across all the Echo devices in the home using voice commands.
Compatible with third-party apps and devices
Amazon’s latest feature is compatible with various music services, including TuneIn, iHeartRatio, Amazon Music and Pandora. Other music services like SiriusXM and Spotify will get support soon. The Alexa App is needed to use the feature.
When announcing the new service, Toni Reid, Vice President of Amazon Alexa, said they have added various new features to Alexa over the past few months for various devices and services, such as Amazon Fire TV, a home entertainment system via Echo, Amazon Video, Echo Shows and so on.
“Today, we’re making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home,” said Reid.
For now, the feature is available only in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. In addition to the Multi-room Music feature, Amazon also announced a string of new tools to assist AVS device makers with syncing the Alexa Multi-room Music feature. For now, Amazon is launching the developer version of the new software that will enable non-Alexa Internet-connected speakers to add Alexa controls though an outside Echo device.
The e-commerce company stated that it is working with Samsung, Sound United, Bose and Sonos to bring the feature to their products. Sonos integration could be launched in the coming weeks, reports CNET.
In a statement, Antoine Leblond, Sonos vice president of software (and former Microsoft executive), said that since Alexa sets the standard for voice in smart homes, working with Amazon was the obvious choice.
“This has been a close collaboration from the beginning as we’ve worked together to combine the magic of Alexa with the seamless multi-room audio capabilities that Sonos pioneered,” Leblond said.
Amazon Alexa now well ahead of rivals
Amazon’s launch of the music integration app came shortly after the classic Echo device went out of stock on Amazon. For now, there is no word on when the supply will be replenished. However, since the Sonos speaker is on the way and the HomePod is arriving later this year, it only makes sense for Amazon to launch a revamped Echo with a new design and various other features before the end of 2017, notes BGR.
Meanwhile, Amazon Alexa continues to be a threat to some of the biggest names in devices, such as Google, which is also looking to ramp the functionality of its own Home voice-controlled speaker. Just a few days ago, Google and Walmart teamed up to allow customers to buy products from Walmart stores using Google’s smart speaker. They simply have to say, “OK, Google,” followed by the name of the product they need to buy.
The collaboration is a direct push against Amazon Alexa, which, according to various research firms, continues to increase its lead. According to research firm eMarketer, Amazon Alexa is leading the United States voice-controlled device industry after capturing 72.2% of the market in 2016, whereas Google Home holds a meager 22% of the market.