Amazon is taking a page from Google’s playbook: The company is adding a new feature to its Echo speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices that allows users to control media playback from their phone. Alexa Cast, as the feature is being called, is launching with Amazon Music — but a company spokesperson confirmed plans to add support for other apps in the future as well.
Amazon Music customers have access to Alexa Cast after updating their Android or iOS mobile app. Once they have done so, they’ll be able to launch the playback of a song, playlist or album with the press of a button, and also skip individual tracks, directly from their phone.
The feature closely mimics Google’s Cast technology, which has been offering much of the same ever since Google first introduced its Chromecast streaming adapter five years ago. In fact, Amazon Music got Chromecast support some time ago. Alexa cast simply allows users to interact with their Echo speakers, and third-party devices with Alexa support, in the same way as with Chromecast devices.
Amazon plans to eventually make Alexa Cast available to third-party developers as well, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday. The spokesperson wasn’t able to share any specifics on timing yet. Opening up Alexa Cast will allow Spotify and others to add playback control for Echo speakers to their mobile apps as well.
Update: 1:15pm: This post was updated with a statement from an Amazon spokesperson.