The recent arrival of the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max have demonstrated, if nothing else, what a smart speaker can be when it’s music first. On the other hand, audio’s never been as much of a driver on Amazon’s Echo line, though the company did take a small step in that direction with its recent refresh.
This week, the company’s adding another small but useful musical addition to its smart assistant. Users can now create and modify playlists using Alexa. The assistant is now able to make a new playlist from scratch or a specific song and add tracks to different lists.
The feature was first introduced in beta a few weeks back and started rolling out to Amazon Music Unlimited users in the U.S. today. Amazon says it was one of its most requested features, showing that people are, indeed, using their Echo devices to listen to music.
Of course, while Amazon’s own products aren’t nearly as focused on the audio experience as the competition, the company has begun partnering with third-party hardware manufacturers like Sonos and Harman to offer a more music-focused listening experience. For now, at least, the likelihood of a truly high-end Echo speaker doesn’t seem particularly high as the company focuses on low-cost hardware in an attempt to undercut the competition.
That said, unlike the HomePod, Echo devices also let users offload the sound to other speakers through Bluetooth and an auxiliary output.