Beaming tunes and controlling music just became a little bit easier for speakers with Amazon’s Alexa built in. Amazon today announced Alexa Cast, a new feature for any Alexa-enabled device that lets users quickly see which songs are playing and pause, play, and rewind songs from the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android.
Starting today, via an update, the aforementioned app will get a new icon for Alexa Cast on the Now Playing screen. Tapping the shortcut will pull up a list of all Alexa-enabled devices on your local network — including Echo speakers, select Amazon Fire tablets, and third-party Alexa products. From there, you’ll be able to control the music’s playback or switch playback to your phone if you’re about to leave the house.
Alexa Cast doesn’t require a subscription to Amazon’s Music Unlimited or any other premium service — it works with Amazon’s Prime Music service, a benefit of Amazon Prime. Beyond those basics, though, the company didn’t elaborate on the technical details. And it’s unclear which other apps and services will be able to tap into it — Amazon told the Verge that it would “continue to improve [Cast] and expand support over time.”
We’ve reached out to a spokesperson for additional information and will update this post when we hear back.
In any case, Amazon Cast is yet another addition to a market overcrowded with proprietary music and video-beaming protocols.
Google Cast — one of the most popular — lets you control media playback from your phone on a Google Chromecast device or a Cast-enabled Android TV set-top box or television. Spotify supports Google Cast, but also its own protocol — Spotify Connect. And Apple has long advanced AirPlay, its in-house local streaming solution, which works exclusively with Apple TV devices, the Apple TV, Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, and certified third-party devices.