Amazon's little black cylinder likes for you to call it Alexa, and when you do, it's willing to do whatever you say. Well, whatever it can understand, anyway. And one thing it understands is how to adjust volume and pause media after you say its name. This includes the ability to mute and unmute. Pausing, naturally, would be useless without the option to play.

Now Amazon is extending this functionality out to third-party developers via the latest Alexa Voice Service update.

This is the kind of hands-off experience you don't yet get from Android TV, which requires you to hold down the microphone button on the remote to issue commands. Doing so in the middle of a video snatches you out of the experience entirely and initiates a search.

Opening up this functionality will enable Alexa to better manage media in third-party apps and in future integrated devices, as long as developers take the time to tie in to the relevant APIs. The resulting experience provides users with reason to possibly consider investing in the Amazon ecosystem worthwhile.

What's New:

  • Volume Control: Ability to adjust and mute/unmute volume on your product using voice or buttons.
  • Media Control: Ability to control media playback (e.g. play/pause) on your product using voice or buttons.
  • Timers and Alarms: Ability to create and manage timers/alarms on your product using voice.
  • Amazon Alexa App Enhancements: Control volume, media playback (e.g. Amazon Music, Audible), as well as manage timers/alarms on your product using the Amazon Alexa App.