(Moderator Note: The original title of this post was "Amazon Alexa Skill Update and a Note About Feature Timing". The title was changed to reflect the current availability of the skill.)
Additional information about Alexa skill availability can be found in the current Release Notes.
The Bose Alexa skill will be available to download on 12/5.
In terms of the Alexa Skill, we're still working on the cloud infrastructure that will enable the Skill (and future experiences). We’re hoping for later this year, and will provide updates as they are available. I know this is very disappointing to those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the Skill, but we need to get this right. Thanks for your continued patience.
One of the most common questions we receive is one of timing – “when will new feature X be available?”. Our answers are usually frustratingly vague. The bad news is, that’s likely not going to change too much. But we owe you more of an explanation as to *why* we don’t share detailed delivery timeframes. This might not ease the pain much, but we want to share. It ultimately boils down to three reasons:
Priorities can change. Especially with connected products like SoundTouch, new opportunities can arrive quickly out of the blue. Airplay 2 is a good example here – Apple came to us with an opportunity and we jumped on it. The reality is that AirPlay 2 is the fastest path to Apple Music which is what many of you have been asking for. But the team that shifted over to Airplay 2 was working on other things that now will take longer to release. When we promise specific delivery dates, we believe in honoring that promise…but we don’t want to limit our ability to jump on quickly emerging opportunities to deliver value to you, just because the marketplace was different the previous month. When we avoid specific dates, we avoid the dilemma of choosing between breaking promises and reacting slowly.
Stuff happens. We’re not perfect at predicting exactly how long something is going to take. Unexpected things happen. Bugs pop up. A partner we’re depending on has a change in priorities. User testing sends us back to the drawing board. And when things like that do happen, timing can change. So, especially when it’s many months in advance, predictions can be inaccurate, and we do not want to make delivery promises we can’t keep.
Timing matters to competitors (and partners). We want to be open with you, our customers. But this forum is open to the internet – everything we post here is 100% public information. Our products are positioned in very competitive markets, and if we shared lots of detailed timing information in a place our competition can access, we end up putting ourselves in a significantly disadvantaged competitive position. In addition, when it comes to partner feature integrations, sometimes our hands are simply tied. Such roadmap information is also important to our partners’ competitive positions. For certain partner features, we may be obligated to stay mum or risk breaking our partnership terms.
So, that’s our thinking. You may not agree with it – that’s totally fair. But this is something we’ve thought through and strongly believe in, and as a result, the answers you’ll hear from us will continue to be very limited in terms of answering the question of “when will this happen?” We hope this helps make clear why that is.
Keeping all of this in mind, we are aware that the Alexa skill for our SoundTouch systems is one of our most anticipated features and our development teams have been working hard on it. Recently we have been responding to status inquiries about the skill with a timetable of “in the coming weeks”. Unfortunately, we need to make a revision to our target. While progress is being made and we continue to get closer to delivering the skill, we are now estimating “late summer” for its availability.Although the skill will not be available as part of our upcoming release next week, our goal is to include it in the following release. (Update: The skill will be available 12/5)
Having our products integrate with cloud services is new territory for us and for other manufacturers as well. For us, this feature requires a major architectural change to allow our systems to be controlled from the cloud. Since this feature is so important to us and our SoundTouch customers, we feel obligated to take the time to get it right and deliver a rock-solid Alexa experience we’re sure you’ll enjoy using.
Missing our window for this next release comes as a disappointment to all of us but we’re confident that the finished product will be worth the wait.
As a reminder from our prior announcement, here are the features we expect to be available when the skill releases -
By speaking to an Amazon Echo, Dot, or Tap with the Skill, SoundTouch users can:
Play your favorite music from your SoundTouch Presets.
Play a Preset in a specific room.
Play/pause/resume and skip tracks.
Play the same music everywhere.
Find out what’s playing.
The Skill will be compatible with all SoundTouch systems, so current SoundTouch owners can enjoy this feature with a free software update.