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You can now cast music from a phone to Echo speakers — with one big limitation
- Amazon’s new Alexa Cast feature lets users cast music to Alexa-powered speakers from their phone.
- Currently, the service only works with Amazon Music.
- Google has long provided a similar feature on Chromecast-enabled devices.
Amazon has announced a new feature that finally lets users cast music from their smartphone to their Alexa-enabled speakers (as spotted by The Verge). The feature works with any Alexa-powered device, including those made by third parties such as Sonos. Unfortunately, it only works with the Amazon Music service.
To cast music to Alexa-powered devices, users have to start playing music via the Amazon Music app on their phone, and then press the cast button found in the bottom-right corner of the app. This will bring up a list of devices that your phone can cast to.
Introducing Alexa Cast with Amazon Music. Play music on any Alexa-enabled speaker using your mobile device. Visit the Alexa Cast page for more details: https://t.co/CN0kOTHgxo pic.twitter.com/StJSIMiS8v— Amazon Music (@amazonmusic) July 26, 2018
Once the music is playing on your Alexa-enabled device, you can continue to control it using your phone or via voice commands. This is the main advantage of casting compared to existing methods of playing music on Alexa. Previously, if you wanted to play music on an Alexa-powered device you could only do so using your phone — via Bluetooth, or a service like Spotify Connect — or using voice commands on the Alexa device itself. You couldn’t seamlessly switch between both control methods, as is the case with the new feature.
The main problem with the feature is that it currently only supports Amazon Music. This means that users of streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora will have to stick with the existing methods of playing music. Although, Amazon says it will expand support to other music services in the future.
The company adds that you’ll need a Prime Music or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription to take advantage of the feature. Echo Plan-only subscribers are unfortunately left in the lurch.
While this is no doubt a great feature for Alexa-powered speaker owners, Amazon has been slow to unveil it. Google has long offered a similar feature for Chromecast-enabled devices — including the Google Home family. Google’s casting service also works with numerous music streaming platforms.
Nevertheless, Amazon confirmed that the new feature will indeed work with Chromecast-enabled devices and Airplay-compatible gadgets.