United Airlines is teaming up with Amazon.com Inc. and the online retailer's Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo devices to make several aspects of the travel experience easier on the Chicago-based airline. Once you've created the group, simply say "Alexa, play Taylor Swift downstairs". Now, you can group them together for synchronized music playback.
Although it's been possible to do something similar for years with conventional stereo receivers using manual controls, using voice to do so is new and something that Amazon (amzn) and other companies like Google (goog) are intensely marketing with their home speakers. Once the group is made, like "downstairs" for devices in the first floor, users can say phrases like "Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs" to hear their music through multiple Echo devices.
Amazon Echo, Dot, Show, and Tap owners are eligible for Music Unlimited on their Alexa-enabled device for only $3.99/month by signing up through Alexa, but are then limited to using it on a single device. Amazon is has released another API to allow third-party Alexa speakers to operate within the multi-room audio playback setup as well. It's a long-awaited move that has been expected since the low-priced Echo Dot launched and made it feasible for people to outfit their entire homes with Amazon's smart speaker.
The streaming service boasts "tens of millions of songs with weekly new releases from today's most popular artists".
This is a big move against Sonos, which has established itself as the go-to multi-room speaker system.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.