Apparently, Spotify has enough time on its hands to start working on its own smart speaker, and maybe its own AI voice assistant, but it doesn’t have the time to launch in South Africa (yes, we are still waiting). But you know… priorities!
According to a job posting that has recently surfaced on the Spotify website, they are looking for a hardware operations manager (key word here being “hardware”), along with three other hardware-related positions at their head office in Stockholm, Sweden. Given Spotify is an exclusively software-based business that seems a little strange, right?
The rumour mill suggests this means the streaming music company is working on its very own device, although it is not yet clear whether it will be accompanied by an AI voice assistant or not, and whether it’ll be a smart speaker like Amazon’s Alexa products or Google’s Home devices, or a wearable with offline music storage like Samsung Fit2 Pro. According to one of the job ads, Spotify is planning to create something comparable to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo and Snap Spectacles (yes, those Where’s Waldo-looking specs). In that case, maybe it’s a wearable? Your guess is as good as ours at this point.
Why would Spotify do such a thing?
As it stands, Spotify relies on third-party hardware for users to be able to use the streaming service, and although this isn’t a problem when it comes to smartphones, Amazon’s Echo, Sony’s PS4, or even BMW 7 series cars (using the Spotify Connect feature), users encounter problems when it comes to Apple’s HomePod and the Apple Watch.
Apple understandable wants to give its own Apple Music device precedence, but for Spotify users the lack of support for the service on some devices is hugely frustrating. Which is why a dedicated device makes a whole lot of sense.
But what is it?
We don’t have any details about what the hardware will look like or what functionality to expect, but the job ads suggest Spotify might already have developed the actual hardware and is now looking for project/operations managers to oversee the roll-out process.
Given the complexities of building digital assistants — even after years of development Siri is still very hit and miss — if Spotify does include one it may opt to go with one of the existing players, like Alexa or the Google Assistant. Of course, with its AI smarts for predicting songs its users will like, perhaps its got an AI all of its own on the cards.
At this stage, we can only speculate, but it is exciting considering Spotify is the largest music streaming service by users, a feat that’s all the more impressive when you consider the scale of the Apple empire and its aggressive push to bolster user number for Apple Music. Whatever Spotify’s working on we can’t wait to hear it.