Although Amazon allows its Alexa voice assistant to work on a range of third-party speakers — like the Sonos One and select Bose options — the retailer holds some features back for its own Echo range.
As a result, only Amazon's Echo smart speakers offer the full Alexa experience. But this situation is starting to change, as the company has announced its Alexa Announcements feature now works on non-Echo speakers.
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Amazon doesn't specify which smart speakers will support Alexa Announcements, but says the feature will be available on "certified Alexa built-in products...and new ones that pass the provided self-tests and certification." The updates are rolling out now, and consumers should be able to start using the feature depending on the third-party speaker they own, and if they've made the feature live.
Similar to a one-way intercom system, Alexa Announcements lets users broadcast brief recorded messages to all Alexa-enabled speakers in a home. That way, they can tell everyone that dinner is ready, for example, or that they are headed out.
To make an announcement, all you have to do is say: "Alexa, announce that / tell everyone / broadcast…" and deliver your message. Alexa then plays a chime on all compatible devices on your home network, before playing your message.
As well as appearing on new Alexa smart speakers, Announcement will be made available to existing qualifying devices. Amazon now provides documentation for device manufacturers to explain how this works.
Other members of the household cannot reply, unless they issue a house-wide announcement on their own Alexa smart speaker.
A similar feature which remains exclusive to Amazon Echo speakers for now is Drop In, which lets you use Alexa devices as a two-way intercom. This is useful for talking to people in a different room of your home, or listening in on a sleeping baby to check that she is okay.
Alexa calling, where you can have a conversation with a fellow Echo owners across town (or even in a different country) also remains an exclusive to the Echo Range.Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa enabled devices.