Amazon Alexa Gets Multi-Room Music Playback

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Here's the deal: in July, reports began emerging about Amazon's plan to finally update its original Echo later this year.

If you need a new Echo device or two to build out your new multi-room audio setup, you can get an Echo Dot for $44.99 (a $5 discount) or an Echo Show for $229.99.

Amazon has one neat trick to get you to listen to their Music Unlimited streaming service.

Given that we're coming up to the all-important holiday season, it's a good time to release a new Echo, right before Apple and Sonos and still in time for Christmas.

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An Echo refresh would make ideal sense, given how hard Amazon's been innovating on hardware for the last 18 months. The upcoming device will also sport a softer design with rounded edges and a cloth-like covering. Apple's Siri can already do that.

Amazon did not disclose its Prime membership statistics in its most recent annual report. The current Echo contains seven far-field mics, while the HomePod has six and Google Home has two.

The online retail giant revealed a new feature on Tuesday for its Internet-connected speaker that lets people play music in certain areas of their homes. For example, a user can say "Alex, play classical music for studying", or "Alexa, play the new Justin Bieber song".

Also note that Multi-Room Music does not yet support Spotify or Sirius XM and is now available only in the US, UK, and Germany. "With AI voice services simplifying how we control our home environments and products, we're excited Denon, Marantz, and HEOS customers will be some of the first to experience Alexa multi-room audio compatibility and the power of voice control", said Kevin Duffy, CEO and president, Sound United. The app will then prompt you to create a group, making it easier to control music playback by saying things like "Alexa play music upstairs" instead of calling out individual speakers.

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