Sonos is teaming up with Amazon.
The company announced Tuesday that Sonos speakers will let you control your music with your voice using Amazon’s Echo connected speakers.
The feature will launch in 2017. A beta version will be available to some users by the end of 2016.
The move marks a shift in priorities for Sonos as it attempts to compete with the budding trend of voice control in the home. Amazon’s Echo, which is powered by its digital assistant Alexa, turned out to be a sleeper hit for the company and proved there’s a hunger to control music in the home with voice.
But Sonos’ speakers don’t have built-in microphones, so it will have to link to the Echo speaker for voice control. Amazon makes a smaller versions of the Echo, the Echo Dot (pictured here), that includes the far-field microphones needed to control Sonos with your voice. You’ll have to buy one of those or the full-sized Echo to make everything work.
Sonos also announced a change to how you control music with your phone. The company partnered with Spotify so you can control the music playing from your Sonos speaker from the Spotify app instead of the Sonos app. The Sonos app has been heavily criticised for being clunky and difficult to use with various streaming services, so this will be a much easier solution for Spotify subscribers.
An update to Spotify coming in a few weeks will enable the feature for Sonos users.
In March, Sonos announced it planned to shift its priorities from simple music streaming over WiFi to a larger emphasis on voice control and paid streaming music services. It also laid off some staff in order to focus on those new initiatives.
Sonos and Amazon arent alone in the space. Google plans to release a voice-controlled speaker called Home later this year and Apple is rumoured to have a similar device cooking in its R&D labs.
Here’s a video demo of how the Amazon Echo will work with Sonos:
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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