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Image credit: Steve Dent / Engadget

Spotify might be building a smart speaker of its own

Not having hardware is a handicap in the fight against Apple, Amazon and Google.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
02.20.18 in AV
Steve Dent / Engadget

Spotify appears to be working a smart speaker that it says will be "category defining," according to new job listings. "Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products and set up an operational organization for manufacturing, supply chain, sales and marketing," one ad states. So far, it has relied on other products like Google's Assistant, Amazon Echo and Sonos One to stream its service. However, Apple recently launched its HomePod speaker with only native Apple Music support, showing Spotify's need to take action on its own hardware.

The ads show that the new "operations manager," "senior product manager: hardware production" and "project manager: hardware production and engineering," would be handling manufacturing and supply for the new product. That suggests Spotify is ready to start manufacturing soon, as the Guardian points out.

Spotify is easily the most popular streaming app and works just fine on most hardware products. However, it's impossible for Android users to stream it over the Apple's HomePod (Mac and iOS users can do it via Apple's proprietary AirPlay protocol). That eliminates a bit chunk of users from both Apple and Spotify's ecosystems, depending on their loyalties.

If Spotify does release a smart speaker, it could support Alexa or Google Assistant, or both, like models from Sonos and others. The company is taking a bit of a risk of stepping on its partners' toes, though it seems unlikely that anyone but Apple -- which wants to promote its own streaming service -- would block the app and its 70 million worldwide paid subscribers.

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