Owners of the Amazon Echo connected speaker got a surprise update over the weekend. The speaker, which Amazon launched in November, now allows users to control playback with their voice on a number of streaming music services like Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora.
Previously, the Amazon Echo could be used to turn those services on or off via a voice command, but this new update gives the device some new options. In an email sent to Echo owners on Saturday, Amazon described the new features:
Voice control for Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora: You can now enjoy hands-free voice control for these popular music services. To get started, simply connect your phone or tablet to Echo by saying "Alexa, pair my device." After you start playing your music, you can easily control it by saying the wake word and: play, pause, stop, next, or previous.
Simon Says: You've likely heard some of Echo's jokes—now there's another way to have fun with Echo. You can get Echo to repeat whatever you have in mind by starting with "Alexa, Simon says…" Here's a fun tip: you can covertly use the remote control from another room to get Echo to repeat what you say and surprise your family.
The Amazon Echo is still available only on an invitation basis, and is priced at $199, or just $99 for Amazon Prime members.