In the same week that saw Spotify add voice control to its app for safer, hands-free use while driving, Amazon has added a new feature called Car Mode to its music app.
The Amazon Music app for iOS and Android got the update this week, which features a simplified interface with larger buttons and less text, making it easy to use while in the car. To discourage you from touching the screen hole driving, Alexa is onboard to help you find music by asking the assistant for a certain artist, album, playlist or genre.
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Amazon has made it so that Car Mode is automatically enabled when your smartphone is connected to a car via Bluetooth. Open the Amazon Music app, and the Car Mode interface will spring into life. It can also be turned on manually from the app menu, if you want to play music using an audio cable instead of Bluetooth.
Preset playlists, stations and albums are served up to help you find music without searching through lists or typing. You can also adjust these presets while not driving, so that next time you use the app music to your taste is offered first. The key here is to reduce the time spent looking at and touching the screen.
Car Mode is enabled when your phone connects to a car using BluetoothiStock
You should only really touch your smartphone while stationary, so for the majority of the time you can ask Alexa to help you out. The Amazon Music app already had Alexa support, where the microphone of your phone will be opened, ready to hear the "Alexa" wake word.
This didn't make a huge amount of sense before, but now with Car Mode it means you can interact with the app without touching your phone, or even looking at it. Essentially, Car Mode turns your smartphone into a simplified Echo Show smart display, sat on your dashboard or mounted to the windshield and ready to play whatever music you ask for.
Alexa stops listening for its name and the microphone is switched off when you close the app. Alexa and Car Mode both work across all subscription levels of Amazon Music, so all Prime subscribers can use it.