You can now use Alexa to choose your next track in Amazon Music, no matter what kind of phone you have.
Amazon's voice-controlled personal assistant Alexa will be built into the Amazon Music streaming app for iOS and Android in the UK, US, Germany and Austria.
The app gives you access to Amazon Music Unlimited, a rival to Spotify and other streaming services. Alexa adds the ability to search with your voice, using more natural and organic questions than what you might type into a search box.
"We find people search differently with the search box and with their voice," explains UK head of Amazon Music Paul Firth. "If I was talking to someone, I wouldn't say have you heard 'Up All Night' by Beck, I'd say 'Have you heard the new Beck song?'"
Alexa's understanding of natural language gives you the option to say things like "play the new song by..." or "play the song that goes...", and Alexa will play the relevant tune (if they're in the Amazon Music or Music Unlimited catalogues). You can even narrow it down by saying something like "Play Oasis from the 90s" -- or be more general and say "Play classic rock for cardio."
You also get other Alexa functions such as the weather, news and sports scores, as well as jokey responses to pop culture references. But you don't get access to third-party services, known as Skills.
People are already talking to their phones while driving or while they're in the home, but not everyone is comfortable chatting with their phone in public. "People have loud telephone conversations on the train, so why not?" counters Firth. "My son probably would, without even thinking about it."