Amazon on Tuesday debuted multi-room audio support for its Echo Internet-enabled speakers, consequently allowing users to play music on individual devices or group them together in an effort to create a surround experience. Rumors of multi-room audio support being in the works for Amazon's Internet of Things (IoT) devices have been circulating the industry for several weeks now, with sources previously claiming that the Seattle, Washington-based tech giant already had a fully functional version of this technology in early August. Those reports have seemingly been accurate, with Amazon now not only announcing multi-room audio support for its Alexa-compatible speakers but also revealing the existence of a variety of new tools for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their developers looking to create third-party devices which utilize Alexa and want to boast multi-room audio capabilities.
Amazon's latest move puts the Echo smart speaker in line with the likes of the Google Home and Sonos devices which already support multi-room audio, yet the company is now also seeking to offer an even more in-depth solution in this regard, having just announced a set of Connected Speaker application programming interfaces (APIs) which will allow its devices to serve as control hubs for other audio hardware products, e.g. providing users with the ability to control a pair of Samsung speakers by issuing commands to their Echo. Apart from the South Korean tech giant, Amazon is currently also collaborating with Bose, Sonos, and Sound United whose devices are set to support this functionality in the near future.
The newly announced Multi-Room Music software development kit (SDK) will allow consumer electronics companies to ship devices which can be natively grouped with the Echo lineup, Amazon said, adding that this tool is scheduled to be released later this year. Amazon's latest SDK and APIs are meant to further promote the tech giant's smart home ecosystem and attract more developers to its offerings, promising them ease of development and a large user base. Amazon is still the leader in the commercial AI segment in the United States, according to many industry watchers and data, and the firm is likely to make similar moves to maintain its current position in the near future.