Displaying items by tag: Speakers

Tech giants collaborate in music streaming war

Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 07:49

Amazon has announced that Amazon Echo will now support Apple music.

As of December 17th, Apple music’s 50 million tracks will be available to play on Amazon's Alexa-powered speakers. It comes as a turning point for the two competing tech giants, as they broaden their service offerings to users of rival devices.

Apple – who has around 50 million subscribers to its music streaming service – is hoping the merge will bring a key service to consumers who do not have an iPhone or other Apple device, and will help the California giant's efforts to diversify its revenue base and reduce dependence on smartphone sales.

Apple currently have their own speaker device, the Homepod, which is voice activated by Siri. But with less than 6% market share, and smart speakers quickly becoming mainstream media platforms, it is hoped their collaboration will help expand its audience in its competition against market leader Spotify.

Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa -- since we launched Alexa four years ago, customers are listening to more music in their homes than ever before," said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices.

"We're thrilled to bring Apple Music -- one of the most popular music services in the US -- to Echo customers this holiday."

"Customers will be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite songs, artists, and albums -- or any of the playlists made by Apple Music's editors from around the world, covering many activities and moods," Amazon's statement said.

Published in Gadget

Amazon launches new smart home device

Written on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 12:14

Amazon has announced details about developing a new smart home device aimed at fending off competition from market competitors Google and Apple. The world’s largest online retailer is planning to capitalize even further on the surprising success of its voice-controlled home gadgets by introducing a new premium Echo-like speaker to the marketplace.

The new smart home device will have a touchscreen measuring around seven inches, a major departure from Amazon’s existing cylindrical home devices that are controlled and respond mostly through the voice-based Alexa digital assistant. Those who have developed the new device hope it will make it easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments and news.

The latest Amazon speaker will be much larger in size and will tilt upwards so the screen can be seen when it sits on a counter and the user is standing. High-grade speakers will make the smart home gadget sound much better than other Echo devices currently on the market. Amazon’s new smart home Echo device is expected to be announced as soon as the first quarter of 2017, although the company, which has its HQ located in Seattle Washington, declined to comment.

So-called smart home gadgets are one of the latest computing battlefields fought over by the largest technology companies. However, they have so far failed to match the popularity of smartphones and personal computers. Amazon’s hardware track record has also been mixed, with the disappointing launch of the Fire Phone in 2014. Its Echo speakers have been a surprise hit though, with Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimating US sales of more than 5 million units since 2014.

Amazon’s planned expansion of the Alexa-powered line coincides with growing competition from Alphabet’s Google Home speaker and Apple’s interest in building a home device using its Siri digital assistant. The new Amazon device will use an optimized version of Fire OS, the software that runs Fire TV set-top box.

Published in Gadget