Question

Integrated portable speaker

  • 26 September 2017
  • 7 replies
  • 212 views

Seeing that Sonos isn't making and does not look likely to make such a product in the near future, the answer to this may be useful for many of us as an adjunct to our Sonos systems, to take music outdoors at home or on the road.

Is there in the market today a solution that has the smartphone front end built into it? To play music from streaming services via Wifi as well as that downloaded to the unit for offline use when WiFi is missing, such that there isn't even the need for a smartphone to use it. It need not necessarily have a sim card and can do without bluetooth in this case.

Even where smart phone tech isn't bundled in, what are recommended speakers that offer battery life of 10+ hours of real battery life and sound quality that isn't a big drop from that of the play 1 units? Bluetooth of course, at this time.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

7 replies


Is there in the market today a solution that has the smartphone front end built into it? To play music from streaming services via Wifi as well as that downloaded to the unit for offline use when WiFi is missing, such that there isn't even the need for a smartphone to use it. It need not necessarily have a sim card and can do without bluetooth in this case.

A bump to see if there is any response.

A speaker such as this would be self contained, with storage for off line play and WiFi capability when possible with some kind of a control panel for music/source selection. Weather proof and with a battery. The disadvantages of Bluetooth and the interference of phone functions with music play would then be eliminated.

I haven't come across what seems to me to be a solution worthy of large market, or am I missing something obvious?
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I like the idea in conception, but in reality, I don't think there would be much of a need for portable device that doesn't leverage the interface, network connectivity, and storage capabilities of a smartphone. The obvious reason being that everyone has a smartphone.

So take a $100 portable Bluetooth speaker. Add in an interface, network, and storage as you suggested. I would imagine the cost would jump up to probably $175. Do you really want to pay an extra $75 to eliminate the need for a smartphone, which is always going to have in your pocket anyway?

That said though, the one product I can think of that comes close to what you're suggesting is the Amazon tap. It has it's own wifi radio and voice interface, no internal storage. You would only need a phone if you're tethering it. And I've honestly never even seen one used 'in the wild', and would be surprised if they sell very well. I wouldn't be surprised if production is cancelled, to be honest.

If you think about it, we may never see many self contained interfaces for devices again. It's just so much more cost effective to add a bluetooth or wifi radio and smartphone app. Development is easier and cheaper, and can be updated easily for new features or just an updated look. People are going to want and expect that interface (any probably voice) anyway. There still be desire for some basic hard buttons, that's probably all there is.
Since there don't seem to be these products around, you must be right!

But I don't know why adding those interfaces into the body of the speaker should cost 75 dollars - a smart phone does a thousand things these days, just a small subset of that capability is needed for this application. While the bluetooth capability can be eliminated and costs saved by doing so.

I also find the smartphone to intrude into the music experience by all the peeps and pops and music volume drops that are rendered every time some phone function occurs when music is playing via bluetooth from the phone.

But as I said, I seem to be in a minority seeing that there aren't any solutions out there that address these issues. Which was one of the purposes of the thread - to confirm that state of affairs.
[...] I haven't come across what seems to me to be a solution worthy of large market, or am I missing something obvious?
Yes, you do. You're missing the major labels, the indie labels, managers and artists – the copyright holders, the ones who are in charge behind the scenes of any streaming service out there. They won't never ever permit storing their asset on devices or storage places beyond their control; much less stripping off copyright protection from downloaded content in order to make these files playable on said devices.
Why could this not be managed in exactly the same way it is managed for smartphones that allow offline storage from streaming services on SD card storage as well? The music disappears as soon as the subscription is halted. The speaker would be registered with the service just the way the phone is today and used the same way - no losses to the supply chain upstream then.
The mobile apps are developed by the streaming services, not by the smartphone manufacturers and these apps have built-in precautionary measures.
Yes, so the speakers would have to be able to host these apps, accessed by their UI - job done as far as the business aspect of the industry is concerned.