​Amazon Echo update helps Alexa read the news

Echo also plays nicely with other smart home systems

Amazon has added a bunch of new features to its Echo smart home speaker in a major new update.

Alexa, Echo's voice assistant will now read out news headlines on demand, like a personalised radio station. She won't deliver the full story – you'll still have to go hunting for those on your smartphone – but it's a good way to stay up-to-date when you need to.

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The update also extends to the alarms, and you can now customise your weekly wake up call, so you won't get raised at the crack of dawn on weekends.

However, a less sexy element of the new update – but certainly the most seismic – is Echo's ability to play nicely with Samsung's SmartThings home system as well as WINK enabled gadgets and extended IFTTT controls. This opening up of Echo means that you'll be able to control connected home devices with your voice.

IFTTT controls have always been a part of Echo, which enables you to control the likes of Philips Hue and Nest – two ever presents of 'If This Then That' recipes – with your voice. However, this now extends to the new alarms, which means you could have your Hue turn the lights on when your early morning alarm goes off. And if that isn't the true realisation of the smart home, we're not sure what is.


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