Alexa Can Now Check Air Quality and Shift Music to Follow You Around All Day
Amazon’s latest Alexa products and features center on rating the air, both for health and musical taste. The new Smart Air Quality Monitor measures what people breathe for traces of toxic matter and syncs with Alexa to alert users. Alexa also has a new feature to ensure a more positive addition to the air, namely a user’s music, follows them around the house and out into the world with minimal disruption.
Air Quality Alexa
The $70 Smart Air Quality Monitor, pictured above, starts shipping in December. It combines advanced particle detection with Amazon’s processing and analysis software to identify and categorize the allergens and toxins in the home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pegs these invisible dangers as up to five times more common indoors, where people have spent even more time since the pandemic. The Monitor integrates with Alexa to keep users informed and suggest simple solutions for improving the air and tracking the quality over time to find out what works best.
“Our goal is to build technology that helps you, our customers, create a healthier and more comfortable home for yourself and your loved ones. That includes one often overlooked element contributing to the health of your home—the air quality,” Amazon smart home director Marja Koopmans wrote in a blog post announcing the product. “Amazon Smart Air Quality Monitor measures particulate matter like dust, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, temperature, and humidity. When your air quality is poor, you’ll receive an alert from the Alexa app or hear an announcement from your Echo device so you can take action—whether that’s opening a window or turning on a fan.”
Music in the Air
One of Alexa’s new features can augment the air with a continuous playlist, playing Air Supply while improving the air supply. The voice assistant will shift the audio playing on an Echo device in one room to an Echo in a different room. The user can either ask Alexa to “move my music” to a specific room or pause the sound on one device and ask Alexa to “resume music here” when they are at their destination. The same goes for podcasts, radio, and any other streaming audio. The feature is similar to one Google Assistant introduced back in 2019, or Apple’s handoff feature for Siri, except that Alexa isn’t limited to a single house or device type. Alexa will transfer the sound to Echo Buds earbuds connected to a smartphone or resume the tune in a car with Echo Auto hooked up to the phone.
“Since the start of this year, customers have used Alexa-enabled devices to listen to billions of hours of music, radio and podcasts,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “Now it’s even easier to take your music, podcasts, or radio stations with you wherever you go – just ask Alexa to move your content to your desired Echo device to continue listening exactly where you left off.”