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Amazon Echo Update Adds Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora Voice Controls

Amazon rolled out an update for its in-home digital concierge this week. The update doesn’t add the support for reading Kindle ebooks (a featured desired by a solid minority of techies) but it does enable users to control Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora with Voice commands.

Amazon Echo owners can now pair their device with a Bluetooth-equipped mobile device, stream music from the device, and control playback with their voice. Previously, the Echo could pair with the mobile devices but the streaming had to be controlled from the device itself; Alexa was not capable of controlling it for you.

According to the email sent out to Echo owners, the update also adds better Wikipedia integration, more spelling words and definitions, and a new "Simon Says" game. You can now have Alexa repeat anything you say, simply by saying "Alexa, Simon says …".

I couldn’t bring myself to buy an Echo when my invite came up, so I don’t have one and can’t report on how well the update works.

What do you think?



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Rob Siders January 31, 2015 um 2:16 pm

I giggled like a schoolboy for about ten minutes making Alexa say a few choice phrases. The machine actually bleeps itself on some words. Beyond that, I have trouble seeing other uses for this feature. I haven’t tried the other new things yet, but if they work as well as current integration with Amazon Music and I Heart Radio, then I’m sure it’ll be pretty good.

Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader February 1, 2015 um 9:09 am

It bleeps itself? Oh, that’s wonderful.

tubemonkey February 1, 2015 um 10:00 am

This is not a big deal. I’ve been using these commands to control radio stations on paired devices for some time now. I’ve also controlled stations not in the above list, like AOL Radio and Slacker. Additionally, other commands such as mute, un-mute, forward, skip, and resume also work.

Real progress will come when additional apps like Audible and OverDrive are added; along with TTS for Kindle eBooks.

In the mean time, it’s still a great stand alone music player for Amazon Music, iHeart, and TuneIn. If you use it like any other bluetooth speaker on the market, you can play any audio content you want with a paired media device.

fjtorres June 5, 2015 um 12:05 pm

A new update added direct Audible support.
Lots of cheering from early adopters.

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