Your Amazon Echo speaker can play music on demand, provided you ask it to do so with your voice or switch to Bluetooth mode. Now, you can use your phone to control playback, just like you would with a Chromecast-equipped device – no Bluetooth required.
Essentially, Amazon has updated with its AI assistant with a feature called Alexa Cast. It’s presently only available in the Amazon Music app, so you’ll need to use that if you want to launch playlists, skip songs, and play or pause without having to yell at your speaker.
That’s good news for Alexa users: a mobile app allows for far greater control and flexibility over your tunes, and the new Cast feature is awfully handy when you’re DJing a party or simply don’t want to yell at your speaker to choose a different song to play.
If Amazon plays its cards right, It could also help Amazon rival Google in the device-based streaming space. Google presently offers a Chromecast Audio dongle that plugs into any speaker with a 3.5mm jack to let you stream music and podcasts from your phone, but Amazon’s Echo speakers only work with your voice – making it more of a chore to play exactly what you want, the way you want to.
Amazon hasn’t confirmed if Alexa Cast will become available in other apps, like Spotify and Pocket Casts; it said in a statement to Android Police, ““We’ll continue to improve this feature and expand support over time.” If it does, it could give more people a reason to either buy an Alexa-powered speaker, or use the one they own more often.