Connected Objects
Gramofon is a Trojan horse box that streams home music, fosters public Wi-Fi

The Premise. The beauty of streaming music is that listeners can enjoy the music they love, no matter where they are. Transferring that access to an audio system worth listening to, on the other hand, often proves to be more difficult.

The Product. The Gramofon is designed to take all the accessibility of a Wi-Fi hotspot, and put that to use to stream music in the home or office. By using Facebook credentials instead of various wi-Fi passwords, it’s easy to use the Gramofon app to connect and start pumping music through any stereo equipment. Right now, the app supports Spotify natively, but there are many other streaming services expected to be added later. AllPlay technology, also supported by Musaic, provides compatibility with an emerging set of music sources.

The Pitch. With one of the more slickly-produced Kickstarter videos in recent memory, Fon CEO Martin Varsavsky and his team take viewers through Fon as a Wi-Fi hotspot company and how the idea of turning hotspots into music players led to the development of Gramofon. The entire campaign smacks of the same trendy, simple design that the device itself supports, and the confidence the developers have in the product will likely carry over to those supporting it. Gramofon needs $250,000 to start the party, increasing the number of support services, finalize the design, and go into production.

The Perks.  Getting a Gramofon will take a pledge of $50 for black, or $60 for white. Both products are expected to arrive in July.

The Potential. Devices like these are starting to crop up, combining the ease of having thousands of songs streaming from any device with the enjoyment of sounds through proper audio output channels. The modern design is similar to the Aether Cone, but the Gramofon really only provides the phone connectivity – more pieces required, but a better sense of control. Also similar is Apple’s Airport Express, but this device only handles music instead of full network sharing like the Airport, although that device has become a bit more streaming-friendly with the launch of iTunes Radio. Fon is also promising backers will get full free access to their millions of hotspots by supporting the Gramofon, so that can be an added incentive to pledge. All in all, the Gramofon is an inexpensive option that offers the quirky benefit of joining into a Wi-Fi-sharing network further along in Europe, but those who want a device that does more won’t yet be satisfied with what this product has to offer.

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