Unveiled by Amazon in November last year, Echo is a cylindrical cloud-connected smart speaker whose main selling point is its Siri-like voice assistant called Alexa. By starting queries with the wake word “Alexa,” users can ask Echo for information and instruct it to do various things, including play music.
It has also been able to play music from Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes via Bluetooth. But it’s only now that Echo has begun supporting voice control for these three music services.
As noted by ZDNet, Amazon has just pushed an update to Echo that allows control of music playback for Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. As before, music streaming from these services have to be initiated from an iOS device. But once streaming, Echo can already accept voice commands to stop, pause, play, go back, or skip ahead, instead of having to control music on the iOS device.
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Echo already looked to be a great voice-activated assistant before this update. But it just became more of a must-have with the addition of voice control support for two of today’s most popular streaming services and Apple’s media player app.
In addition to that, the new update to Echo offers increased response speed and accuracy for queries, expanded coverage of facts from Wikipedia, support for new spelling words and definitions, and a fun “Simon Says” feature that enables Alexa to repeat whatever is spoken in the room.
Amazon Echo is currently available only by invitation, which can be requested through the product’s official webpage. It’s priced at $199 for regular customers and just $99 for Amazon Prime members.
Stay tuned to AppAdvice for our full review of Amazon Echo.
See also: Amazon updates Cloud Drive Photos app with new features and new name, Amazon Prime Now for iOS offers one-hour delivery of daily essentials and gift items, and Amazon serves up a nice update to its Kindle app with Goodreads integration and more.