Amazon Echo Devices Gain Multi-Room Audio Functionality

Pensioners in adult social care will be given Amazon Echos in their homes so the devices can remind them when to take their medication. The voice-activated gadgets which are to be handed out to 50 clients will also remind users when their car

Amazon's Alexa can now beam music to a specific set of smart speakers in the home, opeing up the capability to blast country music upstairs while sparing the rock fan hanging out below.

Students (US only) will now be able to purchase a subscription to Music Unlimited for $4.99 per month; a $3 per month discount compared to regular Prime subscribers, and a 50% saving compared to members without a Prime membership. You can then tell your Echo device "Alexa, play Smash Mouth downstairs" and playback will begin. Amazon is also releasing an SDK so that third-party speakers can also be used with Multi-Room Music.

Sonos owners know that one of that speaker's killer features is the ability to stream audio throughout your house. Currently, people can only use it with music-streaming services Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. Thanks to those integrations, you can ask Alexa to turn on the TV, raise or lower the volume, play, pause, stop, fast forward, switch inputs, and change channels.

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Amazon hasn't really changed the hardware of its original Echo speaker which it launched back in 2015.

If you own more than one of Amazon's Echo speakers, you can now sync them up so they are playing the same song in multiple rooms. But there's a caveat: The multi-room music feature is only available in three countries at the moment: the USA, the United Kingdom and Germany. We're guessing that Sonos might be at least a little anxious about this, especially considering recent rumors that the company looking to launch an Alexa-based smart speaker of its own. These tools will be available early next year.

The Connected Speaker APIs are available in developer preview starting today. Multi-room audio, that is.

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