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How to set up multiroom music playback with Amazon Echo

One Echo is good; several is better. Amazon’s Echo devices have multiroom audio support, allowing users to simultaneously stream music over multiple speakers, making it feasible for people to outfit their entire homes with Amazon’s smart speaker.

The feature lets you play audio from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify and Sirius XM over multiple speakers. It even added Apple Music support last December.

To set up multiroom audio, open the Alexa app and select Devices. Tap the + icon in the top right, and select Add Multi-Room Music Speakers. The app will then prompt you to create a group, making it easier to control music playback by saying things like “Alexa play music upstairs” instead of calling out individual speakers. Once you’ve created your group(s), add your desired devices and the setup is complete.

Using multiroom audio is as simple as everything else with the Echo — just say where you want the music to play. Saying “Play Justin Timberlake” followed by the name of your group will activate the music in your desired location, and so far it’s worked flawlessly in my testing.

Now if you’re like me and you enjoy the ease of use that multiroom audio support provides — but would like to utilize it with better speakers, like Sonos for example — you can do that as well. First, you have to use your Alexa app to add the Sonos Skill and to discover your Sonos devices. You should also add the music services that you are using with your Sonos system (any music services you want to use need to be on both the Alexa and Sonos apps). You can then control your Sonos devices using Alexa and create groups of Sonos products within your Alexa app. (You can also associate Alexa with a single Sonos speaker and use your Sonos app to create a group associated with that speaker.)

Sonos may not be the only company rolling out an integration with Amazon. Amazon has released an API to allow third-party Alexa speakers to operate within the multiroom audio playback setup. At this rate, soon Alexa will be the main operator of all music in your home, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Multiroom audio playback is available to Echo owners in the US, UK, and Germany on Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices.

Xbox One X, PlayStation Classic, Cuisinart, Instant Pot, KitchenAid, and more great deals for Jan. 17

We’re almost to the (long) weekend! Hang in there, just one more day until some much needed time off of work. But in the meantime, take a look at the best deals we found on Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s.

So what did we find? We rounded up deals on video games, home products like coffeemakers and multi-cookers from Instant Pot, and Amazon devices and tablets for video streaming and home security. Want to snag an Xbox One S at a discount, or KitchenAid stand mixer for cheap? Scroll down and keep an eye out for these deals and more.

Also, if you’re looking to start a new career, Udemy is a good place to start with online courses on just about any subject and field like computer science and photography basics. All courses are on sale starting at $11.99. Now that’s a deal!

Here are the best deals from across the internet for Thursday, Jan. 17:

Video game deals

So you probably didn’t get the video game consoles you wanted for the holidays, so take advantage of these video game deals today. You know that XBox One X you had your heart set on? It’s now $73 off (priced at $426.65) with NBA 2K19 bundled with it on Amazon. Want something more retro? The PlayStation Classic retro console is $45 off with a sales price of $59.99 at Best Buy.

For the kitchen

There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee to get your day started, so scroll down and check out these deals on coffeemakers, travel mugs, and more. You can save $101 on Cuisinart Brew Central 12-cup programmable coffeemaker from Walmart, while you can save $30 on Bean Envy’s cold brew coffeemaker on Amazon.

Amazon devices on sale

Make your home into a smart home with devices from Amazon. The online retail giant has deals on their video streaming and home security devices, such as save $30 on the Fire 7 Kids Edition and save $100 when you buy two Echo Shows. It’s finally time to upgrade your home.

Deals on Udemy online courses

Need a new career? Udemy offers thousands of online courses for web design, animation, photography, and more starting at $11.99 to help you get going.

Looking for more deals, the latest news on cool products, and other ways to upgrade your life? Sign up for the Mashable Deals newsletter here.

Lenovo, Verizon to Reincarnate Motorola Razr as Foldable Smartphone: Report

The Motorola Razr — once the hottest flip phone available — is being revived as a smartphone with a foldable screen, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Lenovo, Verizon to Reincarnate Motorola Razr as Foldable Smartphone: Report

It will be offered exclusively through Verizon in the United States, possibly in February, although the device is still being tested and the launch date is not firm.

Its starting price reportedly will be US$1,500.

“We can’t comment on rumors and speculation about our manufacturing partners,” Verizon spokesperson George Koroneos told TechNewsWorld.

That statement could indicate Lenovo is producing the foldable Motorola Razr for Verizon on an OEM basis instead of using carriers as distributors.

That might be wise, as “Lenovo has mostly been playing in the mid range and occasionally going higher with its own flagship devices,” remarked Ramon Llamas, a research director at IDC.

Unlike Apple and Samsung, Lenovo may not have the chops to push a $1,500 smartphone, Llamas told TechNewsWorld. He’s “a little skeptical.”

Lenovo likely has been working on the Motorola Razr with a foldable screen for more than a year. At the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona last February, CEO Yang Yuanqing hinted that such a device was in the works.

New Razr’s Likely Makeup

Motorola submitted a patent application for a folding phone with two screens to the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2016.

The patent, granted in March of 2018, was for “an electronic device having at least a three-part housing foldable between multiple use positions.”

It also has a flexible display that extends at least along portions of the first and second housing parts, and across the movable coupled sides. The third housing part can be moved relative to the second housing part to cover at least a portion of the flexible display selectively.

Eye-Popping Prices

Consumers can pick up a laptop for between $230 and $2,200 at Best Buy, which raises the question of whether the rumored Razr might be overpriced.

“$1,500 is quite a bit, and rivals some people’s mortgages,” Llamas observed.

However, “I would have argued 15 years ago that people wouldn’t pay much over $500 for a phone, and we have more than doubled that,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

At $1,500 the revived Motorola Razr “is in the same neighborhood as Apple’s iPhone XS Max — $1,449 with 512 GB,” noted Ken Hyers, a research director at Strategy Analytics.

The upcoming Samsung Galaxy ‘F’ foldable smartphone “will be in the $2K range,” he said.

Foldable display smartphones “will be very expensive … into the early 2020s,” Hyers told TechNewsWorld. “The foldable display technology is new. Manufacturing is extremely complex, and yield rates on the displays are not high.”

Due to their cost and limited supplies, foldable display smartphones “will not be mass market products in 2019,” he predicted.

“Barely over 1 million foldable display smartphones will ship this year, and less than 10 million in 2020,” Hyers said. “Foldable display smartphones will be the ultimate unobtanium in smartphones for the next two years, and consumers who can get their hands on one will pay the high prices they command.”

Yen for Foldables

“The foldable display smartphone is the first significant major change to take place in smartphone design in a decade,” Hyers said.

Manufacturers gearing up to release smartphones with foldable screens this year include Royole, Apple, Huawei and LG.

Foldable displays can be used on smartphones, tablets, and “in certain configurations, small notebook PCs,” Hyers suggested.

They “will cut across multiple categories, helping to justify [their] high price,” he said.”They are a genuine Swiss Army knife of mobile devices” that will appeal to both consumers and business users.

Release Date Speculation

The Motorola Razr might be introduced in February, but “I’d peg the release date as 1H 2019 — and maybe 2H 2019,” Strategy Analytics’ Hyers said. “Motorola won’t be able to source enough displays in Q1 2019 to support sales of the device in February or March 2019, and possibly beyond.”

Also, Samsung “has a near monopoly on foldable displays and will take the lion’s share of these for its Galaxy F,” Hyers pointed out.

The timing of the announcement itself is fraught with hazards.

“A February announcement would align with a Mobile World Congress announcement, especially if Lenovo wants to take this global,” IDC’s Llamas noted. “But look at how Samsung’s already doing its own Unpacked event in February. That may take the wind out of Lenovo’s sails a bit.”

On the other hand, waiting until September would pit Lenovo against Apple.

Market Reception

“Consumers that want a foldable display smartphone will not be brand loyal, particularly given the limited number of devices available,” Hyers suggested.

That will make the Motorola Razr a threat, but Samsung “is somewhat safe as they’ll have their own foldable display smartphone, the Galaxy F, and it’ll be first to market and available in greater quantities than foldable from all other vendors combed in 2019,” Hyers said.

Apple “is in more danger, as they won’t have a foldable for several years yet,” he pointed out. “Put another way, I use an iPhone, but if someone handed me a Razr, I’d switch.”

The original Razr “was iconic,” said Llamas, “and for many, it was the aspirational mobile phone to move towards. Unless the new smartphone can replicate that aspirational feeling, it may end up getting overlooked.”

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

Defeat hackers and become a cyber security specialist for just £12.99

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Protect yourself from online threats.
Protect yourself from online threats.

Image: pixabay

Keeping you guys informed is a big responsibility, whether it’s concerning a new deal or an upcoming event, but we believe that it’s our job to make sure you are in the know.

Well, there’s a deal you should know about, and an event, too. They go hand in hand, in fact. So listen up. 

Data Protection Day occurs every Jan. 28, with the purpose of raising awareness and promoting privacy and data protection best practices. It is currently observed in the United States, Canada, India, and 47 European countries. If you didn’t know before, then you do now.

With this date fast approaching, it’s our responsibility to point you in the direction of deals that will help you to be better informed, and one such deal exists on the online learning platform Udemy. You can now take ‘The Complete Cyber Security Course: Hackers Exposed‘ for just £12.99, reduced from £29.99. That’s a saving of 57%.

You’ll develop an advanced practical skillset to combat online threats including advanced hackers, trackers, malware, and pretty much any other Internet nastiness that gets thrown at you.

With Data Protection Day just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to become a cyber security specialist.

For under £20 you can relive the ’80s and play classic games on this mini arcade machine

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Arcade classics are still so popular.
Arcade classics are still so popular.

Image: pexels

What does £20 get you nowadays? A ticket to the cinema and a snack maybe. That only covers your ticket though, so if you want to bring a friend they’d better be paying. And whilst seeing a film is great fun, alone or otherwise, it’s only a couple of hours of entertainment, and then what? You’ve lost your £20 and you need to find something else to do.

What if we told you that you could play 240 16-bit video games with an easy-to-use joystick, on a colourful 2.5-inch screen, with built-in speakers, all for under — yes under — £20? You can now relive the ’80s by playing classic games on the Thumbs Up miniature retro arcade game machine for £17.10, down from £24.99.

What’s great about this mini arcade machine is the massive range of playable video games. With 240 to choose from, you’ll be kept entertained for far longer than the average film lasts, and you can make as much noise as you like. 

With 67% of customers on Amazon giving this arcade machine a five-star rating, it’s clearly a popular option. Ms Laura praised the machine, saying: 

“Bought this for my son’s 9th birthday and he loves it. Well worth every penny and works like a charm. Handy for taking on holiday, car, plane and train journeys. Highly recommend for the price.”

You’ll be hard-pressed to find better entertainment for under £20.