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Amazon Echo gets multi-room audio just in time to take on Apple’s HomePod

If you have multiple Amazon Echo devices at home, you can now play music on them together like a Sonos system. The multi-room audio feature is available today on Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. Third-party Alexa devices will be able to tie into the same system early next year.

Amazon is also releasing developer tools that will let connected speakers respond to voice commands from an Echo or other Alexa device. Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung all plan to support Alexa controls soon.

Sonos-style music playback is becoming table stakes in the battle between smart home platforms. Google already supports multi-room audio on its Chromecast Audio dongle, Chromecast-enabled speakers, and Google Home speaker. Apple won’t be far behind with iOS 11, which adds multi-room audio for connected speakers (and eventually, HomePod) via the AirPlay 2 protocol. Amazon’s own multi-room support is arriving just in time to fend off the company’s biggest competitors.JN