back to article Spotify seeks hardware boffins

Spotify is seeking experienced hardware engineers to create “a category-defining product”, according to a (now removed) job ad. Spotify already has relationships with hardware companies, and has been embedding its music service into cars, speakers and TVs for years. But this calls for something more ambitious: “a category …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Hmmm, the current method of listening to Spotify - phone or tablet streaming to a Chromecast or similar - works well in all respects but one: it needs a nice big volume knob.

    I can imagine a charging cradle for phones and tablets that would feature a USB jog dial or knob for volume control. Bang and Olufsen have made dedicated streaming-audio consoles that consist of a touchscreen plus knob. (And of course it was a B&O jog wheel on a telephone that inspired Apple's original iPod.)

    1. 2Nick3

      Volume knobs!

      One of the advances in car/driver integration that I don't like is the movement of the volume controls to buttons on the steering wheel and the reduction of the volume knob on the dash to something little bigger than a #10 screw (with no resistance and a decelerator function so faster turning gives less change in volume).

      When you want to crank up a song while driving down the road, either pushing a button or turning a Barbie-sized knob just isn't as satisfying. And having to turn the knob slowly to get the desired volume increase - the whole point of cranking up the stereo is to be blasting out my eardrums!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Volume knobs!

        pushing a button or turning a Barbie-sized knob just isn't as satisfying.

        A very valid point, and I think more so than you make. In the days before crappy touchscreenydigitiallyshit, most car makers had the art and science of audio control down to a "T". You could operate the device with barely a glance, it offered no distraction, and all the controls were well sized, clearly marked and logical. Third party and aftermarket stereos were not - even from people like Sony they were covered in a bazillion tiny buttons, mixing obscure control with impenetrable hieroplyphics. With the advent of the in car digital entertainment setup, most car makers have sadly forgotten all common sense, and put in rubbishy over-complex touch screens that need grit, determination, skill AND luck to operate on the move.

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Volume knobs!

        Maybe like this ?

      3. I just wish to be anonymous.

        Re: Volume knobs!

        Forgive me in advance. Your life must be so complete and empty of day to day worries that you complain about a button (and size of) being in the wrong place?

        I do wonder about western peoples whinges.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Volume knobs!

          :) It is pretty silly in the grand scheme of things. Especially in light of the fact that we can just make one. How hard would it be to extend the tiny knob out an inch or two, then craft a suitably sized MEGAKNOB from wood, or stone, or empty cans of Chef Boyardee?

          Thanks for the MSX tip, El Reg. Never seen one of those before. Fascinating.

          My kid hipped me to the Snap Spectacles and that was good for a chuckle. First, it reminded me of Pop Specs line of crap fashion glasses with removable lenses from AbFab. Then I had to remind them of Google Glasses. I have not heard about the Snap Specs since. Thank you very much.

          If I can't have a nice HUD in my glasses without a camera, I'm not springing for a pair of Snap Specs. And not the VR glasses. Just stop that. No one should be producing any products with VR blockchain quantum AI public virtual watson cloud glasses, with extra cameras on them. And you should never throw a bong, kid. Ever.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Volume knobs!

          > Forgive me in advance. Your life must be so complete and empty of day to day worries that you complain about a button (and size of) being in the wrong place? I do wonder about western peoples whinges.

          If a manufactured object is irritating to use, then the mean time to the user punching it, throwing it away or stowing it at the back of the garage is reduced. This results in more objects being manufactured. In short, it is a sustainability issue. It costs just as much to manufacture a poorly designed object as it does a pleasingly designed object, so it should be done right.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's get Spotify to address a huge issue

    It's great that Spotify wants to partner with hardware manufacturers. But until they address the issue of how large the "Your Music" collection can be (limited to 10,000 "items" - which can be tracks, but if you save an entire album, it takes an entry for the album as well - so you never get 10,000 tracks saved, but in the low 9,000's - not really enough to be useful with their awesome discovery features).

    Upvote here:

    Google allows 50K tracks (not "items"), and Apple Music allows 100K tracks.

    Spotify's limit is far, far too small, and their excuse for not fixing it is about as lame as it gets - it boils down to "we'd rather have it suck for 1% of our users than be 'ok' for 100%'. As if allowing me to save 100K tracks is going to affect other users' experience - and if it does, that's a piss-poor design that should be fixed.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Let's get Spotify to address a huge issue

      There used to be an issue with number of tracks on that rare thing: an Archos 500GB (spinning rust) Android-powered Portable Media Device. I think Archos patched it in an update, but for a while it suffered from not being able to access the number of tracks that it's raw capacity would suggest it could. At first, Archos blamed the issue on Android itself - but I've never taken much notice of which file system Android uses, if indeed that was the issue.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Let's get Spotify to address a huge issue

      Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but, do you actually have 9000 favourite pieces of music, and, how difficult is it to listen on Spotify to something that isn't in that set of tracks?

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    But Why?

    How are they going to persuade their users to lug/cart/wear YAEDTNB/YAEDTNC (Yet Another Electronic Device that needs Batteries/Charging) with them everywhere they go?

    This is in my mind their biggest problem, sort of re-inventing the wheel and making it better than all the wheels that have gone before.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: But Why?

      You can listen to music on a dedicated player without being interrupted by phone notifications. That's a selling point!

  4. kingosticks

    Not a great track record

    Spotify have a poor track record of supporting their legacy systems. Their libspotify library is dead with no replacement outside of iOS and Android for playback. Roku boxes and other embedded devices that use this library (and its variants) are slowly losing functionality as Spotify make non-backwards compatible API changes. This company does not understand how to support it's embedded platforms, take your business elsewhere.

  5. Pangasinan Philippines

    Before they look at hardware :-

    They need to sort out membership fees.

    Why can't I buy a family yearly membership?

    You can do this only for single user.

    Monthly memberships are messy.

    1. FreeTard

      Re: Before they look at hardware :-

      Eh? I have a family membership which allows 5 distinct users. Works fine for me.

  6. MT Field

    Before they do anything else

    Spotify need to pay the artists a decent fee for their work.

    I still say there should in these modern connected times be a way for artists to completely bypass the music publishing business and get paid directly for their work on a per-listen basis.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spotify - please create a device for audiophiles

    I'm currently using a Cowon Z2 which is limited to Android 2.3.

    Not able to upgrade (sideload) the Spotify app beyond version - but i still use this everyday for my commute. I'm not aware of any other device that can play Spotify with such high quality...

    Spotify - if you can make a high bitrate device for offline listening, I'll buy it!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Spotify - please create a device for audiophiles

      Some variants of LG G and V series phones have an amp and DAC chip ('Sabre’) by ESS that is widely considered to be the dog's bollocks.

      Alternatively, you can use an external DAC and amp over micro USB or Lightning. The B&O-branded audio module (actually ESS components) for that modular LG phone will work on a lot of Android phones with USB-audio.

      Most of the reputable headphone makers will soon be shipping headphones with integrated amps and DACs, rendering the sound quality of the phone irrelevant (as long as it can output a digital stream quickly enough).

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