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Spotify starts testing voice assistant on iOS amid rumours of smart speaker launch

SPOTIFY HAS BEGUN testing its own voice assistant to control the streaming service, leading to speculation that its own line of speakers could be on the way.

At present, the feature is in closed beta for selected iOS users, according to The Verge, which notes that the new voice search feature can be accessed by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app. 

This revelation only serves to stoke the fires that started when job advertisements for hardware development roles began to appear for a “category-defining product”.

But there’s an issue with this, and you can probably work out what it is.

There’s just no ruddy need. Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri all support voice control of Spotify already, so why would you want a voice assistant that will just be another Bixby in the side to those who like all of our stuff to ‘just work’ together?

There are also hundreds of speakers, many of them multiroom, that support Spotify Connect, meaning that this is going to have to be something ruddy spectacular or it’ll just end up as an also-ran, and believe us, we have so many also-ran speakers in the office, it’s painful.

Spotify continues to expand its reach, however. It’ll be arriving on Sky Q later this year, and following a crackdown of ‘warez’ that allow users on to the Premium Tier service for free, it’ll be launching an IPO later this year, despite not actually turning a profit yet.

But all that kind of housekeeping is designed to maximise value ahead of the flotation, and if we’re being honest, a big diversion into hardware at a crucial time might put the gee-willikers up potential investors.

Although the Swedish firm may seem like a good long-term bet, for people to loss-lead on a long-term investment, it can’t afford to put a foot wrong, and a Spotify speaker could be the next Google Glass, Snapchat Specs, Withings Hairdryer or, God help us, Basis Peak – making it a huge gamble.

Of course, if it isn’t making money on software, perhaps a speaker with a year’s free Premium might end up being the making of them – stranger things have happened. µ  

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