Shots fired: Alexa strikes back in the smart speaker war
Amazon announced an all-new Alexa feature that lets users control and synchronise music across multiple Amazon Echo devices in their home.
This was one of the major selling points for the Apple HomePod.
Starting today, users can target music to a specific Echo device or a group of devices.
This ability will be extended to control multi-room music on other connected speakers using simply user-voice.
Toni Reid, Amazon Alexa VP says, “In just the last few months, we’ve added dozens of new features to Alexa that enhance your entertainment experience and we’re just getting started.
“Today, we’re making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronised on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home.”
Users can now synchronise their music playback across Echo devices and play songs from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon.
Users can simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices.
Once users have created the group, they simply have to say ‘Alexa, play music downstairs’.
Amazon also announced two new sets of tools for developers who aim to bring multi-room music control to their speakers.
Amazon is introducing new tools that enable AVS device makers to integrate with Amazon Alexa Multi-Room Music.
Doing so will allow customers to play their music across supported Echo and AVS devices.
These new tools enable device makers with connected audio systems to control music playback using Alexa.
A customer can then use any Alexa-enabled device, for example, an Echo Dot, to play music throughout their home on their connected audio systems.
Antoine Leblond, Sonos Software VP says, “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.
“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.”
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done together as Amazon’s first multi-room partner.”
Amazon is partnering with massive companies like Samsung as well to expand on this project.
Jun Young Kim, Samsung AV business team VP says, “We’re thrilled to integrate Alexa multi-room audio with Samsung speakers.
“With Alexa multi-room audio and Samsung, customers will simply be able to ask Alexa to play their favourite music in any room of the house.”
“Listening to great music on Samsung speakers has never been easier.”
This move by Amazon could solidify the Echo and Alexa as the champions of the smart speaker war.