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Amazon takes on Spotify Connect with Alexa Cast for the Echo

Amazon Music subscribers will soon be able to control the music playing on their Amazon Echo speaker directly from the Amazon Music app, thanks to Alexa Cast.

It should be a pretty helpful piece of functionality for anyone who subscribes to Amazon’s own music service − you’ll now be able to keep track of the same playlists as you swap between listening on your phone and smart speaker.

Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo

This is something you’ve been able to do in the Spotify app for a while, so it’s unlikely that many people will swap to a different music streaming service off the back of this announcement.

Alternatively, the Amazon Echo also works as a Bluetooth speaker, which provides a convenient way to get audio from any app playing on the speaker. However, if you go down this route then you’ll be giving up the convenience of voice control when your phone’s out of reach.

Steady updates

You have to admire how steadily Amazon has been rolling out updates for its Echo speakers.

Recently, we’ve seen the company equip them with a voice-controlled sound EQ, as well as enhancing proximity detection to work with Alexa-equipped non-Amazon devices. We’ve also seen Amazon Fire devices gain the ability to work as temporary Amazon Echo Shows, and the core Alexa software upgraded to allow for follow-up requests.

Updates like these have made the Amazon Echo almost unrecognisable from what was originally released, and we hope that these sorts of announcements continue long into the future.

The big problem to solve will be making Alexa truly conversational. In 2017, Amazon ran a competition for teams to try and build a chatbot based on Alexa that could hold a back and forth conversation with a human for 20 minutes and offered a $1 million price to the team that managed it.

We’re not there just yet, but the Alexa prize is due to make a return again in 2018, and constant updates like these might mean we’ll get there sooner than we’d expect.

What problems would you like to see Amazon solve with the Amazon Echo? Let us know @TrustedReviews.