It’s a feature that’s now glaringly lacking in the Alexa/Echo lineup…whole house audio. In the beginning, it was nice to have, but we all understood that the Amazon Echo was a new kind of product and it would probably get better over time. Then Google released Google Home and immediately pointed out that they could sync music across devices, including Chromecast. Last to the party was Apple, who recently announced Apple HomePod and one of their major differentiatiors was whole house audio. The competition has found a weakness and they are exploiting it.
In 2016, Amazon announced Echo Spatial Perception, which made multiple Echo devices aware of one another. It allowed Alexa to figure out which Echo device was closest to you when you issued the wake command, and only respond on that device. I immediately started asking if this was the first step towards whole house audio, and maybe it was.
In the latest Alexa update, Amazon rolled out Drop In for all Echo devices. This allows you to use multiple Echo’s as an intercom system for your home. Now not only are Echo devices aware of one another, they know each other by name. You can simply ask “Alexa, drop in <your device name>” and it knows to connect you with that device. That is one step shy of being able to ask to have music played on a specific device. And once that happens, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards…checkmate! I mean….once that happens whole house audio is just the logical next step.
Sure, this could all be wishful thinking from someone who has been willing Amazon to roll out this feature for two years, but somehow I feel like this is the course Amazon is on. And somehow I feel like it will coincide with an announcement from Sonos. Time will tell.