Amazon is rolling out a new feature for Alexa enabled devices dubbed Alexa Cast, which enables users to control the music playing on the device from their smartphone.
The Verge, citing Amazon, reported that the feature only currently works with the Amazon Music app but could become more robust by enabling control of music playback, movies and more internet content on any Alexa powered device from a smartphone. This may result in Alexa Cast emerging as a competitor to Google Cast.
According to the report, Alexa Cast works with any device that is Alexa powered, including its Echo speakers and third-party devices. Following an update on Thursday (July 26), an icon for Alexa Cast will show up on the Now Playing Screen within the Amazon Music App on iOS and Android. The Verge noted that Amazon hasn’t disclosed what plans it has for Alexa Cast, which means it’s not clear if third-party apps will be added to the new feature.
The move to roll out Alexa Cast comes during a busy week for Amazon and Alexa. Amazon just inked a deal with Yext to offer business information services on Alexa devices. Consumers will be able to get hours of operation, location, contact information and other data via voice commands. With the deal, Amazon has expanded the features Alexa is able to provide.
Additionally, Amazon’s Alexa Fund recently announced that it chose nine companies for this year’s Alexa Accelerator, a program aimed at supporting early-stage startups that plan on using voice to deliver transformative customer and business experiences. The Accelerator program will be held this summer in Seattle, Washington.
“Four of the participants from the first Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars, have gone on to raise venture-led rounds since the 2017 Demo Day in October last year, making the class’s initial fundraising efforts one of the most successful in the 10-year history of Techstars,” said Amazon’s Brian Adams in a blog post. “We are incredibly excited about the possibilities for this year’s participants, all of whom represent a diverse focus of products, services and industries, and see Alexa as key to unlocking their full potential.”