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The battle for the home heats up as Alexa expands to HEOS speakers
If you own a HEOS device by Denon, your speakers are about to get a lot cooler. Denon has announced that it’s partnering with Amazon to bring its voice assistant Alexa to all HEOS enabled devices.
The HEOS line of speakers are part of the Denon home audio ecosystem. They allow you to play music in a number of ways to multiple rooms in your home. You can stream audio over Bluetooth or your home Wi-Fi network, and even via a USB stick. Setting it up is fairly straightforward and requires the HEOS app. This app is also your central location to connect streaming services and control your music. But that changes now that Amazon’s Alexa is a part of the equation.
Alexa will roll out to HEOS speakers Q1 of 2017
Once Alexa begins rolling out to HEOS devices Q1 of 2017, you’ll be able to interface with your speakers using only your voice. You’ll get most (if not all) of the functionality of the Amazon Echo in your existing home audio speakers. You’ll be able to perform simple tasks like change tracks, search for songs, and adjust the volume, but you’ll also be able to get news and weather updates, control any smart home products, and ask it questions.
Though the speakers are getting the functionality of the Amazon Echo, whether or not it works perfectly remains to be seen. After all, the Echo has specially designed omnidirectional microphones that can pick up your voice from across the room. Currently the HEOS speakers can’t claim to accurately hear your voice in the same way that the Echo can. But this partnership between Amazon and Denon is sure to expand to future yet-to-be-released HEOS products. Hopefully Denon will design future speakers with voice detection in mind.
Brendon Stead, Senior Vice President of product development at Denon, said in a press release, “We see the recent shift towards voice as the preferred interface for searching, retrieving, and controlling music as a tremendously compelling arena where we can focus that heritage of technical excellence and innovation to deliver completely new experiences.”
This is surely good news for anyone who is already in the HEOS ecosystem. Though only time will tell if customers will choose Denon over other home audio products just for the Alexa capabilities. This could also be just the first of many partnerships between Amazon and home audio companies that brings Alexa into your living room which would force some of these companies to figure out new ways to differentiate their products.