Amazon’s Echo Speaker Gets More Connected, Can Control Hue Lights, WeMo Switches

amazonechoAmazon introduced its Echo web-connected speaker thingy back in Nov. 2014 with the promise of a device that would not only play music but allow you to do voice-controlled information searches and set reminders. An update to the $200 Echo will now let users operate certain “smart” lightbulbs and electric switches.

The e-tailer e-mailed Echo users today alerting them to the new functionalities of the device. Specifically, it allows them to use the Echo to operate Philips Hue LED lights and certain Belkin WeMo products.

The addition of the Hue and WeMo functionalities hint at the beginning of how the Echo could ultimately evolve into a true, hands-off control center for the entire home. Amazon did not name any other brands in today’s announcement, but there’s no reason to think the company will not ultimately expand to include controls for other product lines.

The Echo has not exactly taken the market by storm, mostly because of the excruciatingly slow rollout of the device. Users who placed orders in 2014 are still waiting for delivery of their Echo and Amazon is still only allowing customers to request an invitation to maybe purchase one in the future.

[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that there were limits on the number of Hue and WeMo devices that could be controlled by a single Echo. Amazon has clarified that this is not the case. Those limits were merely referring to the number of WeMo and Hue product lines that can currently be controlled via the Echo.]

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