Ever wished you could take your Spotify playlists out for a run with you without having to bring your phone? If so, then Mighty may be the device you've been searching for...
We love Spotify here at Vodafone Social – it’s by far the best way to discover new music and take your tracks with you on the move. But for outdoor exercise enthusiasts there’s always been one small problem: listening to Spotify during your workouts involves strapping your smartphone to your arm, which isn’t always ideal.
Enter: Mighty, a ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ device that’s just smashed its fundraising target on Kickstarter.com. Think of Mighty as an iPod Shuffle built just for Spotify – one which lets you save your songs offline and leave your phone at home while you head out and pound the pavements. But how does that work? And what secrets does the diminutive device have in store for future owners? We’ve been chatting to Mighty Audio’s co-founder Anthony Pu to find out…
If you want something done right…
“We’re both huge music fans, we’re both ex-collegiate athletes and we’re both very avid exercisers,” Anthony says of himself and his Mighty co-founder (also called Anthony). “We used to use iTunes and iPod Shuffles for working out, but as soon as Spotify came to the US in 2011 we immediately switched over to streaming.”
But the Anthonys quickly spotted a gap in the streaming ecosystem: “Our initial reactions were: ‘where is the iPod Shuffle for this? Where’s the great workout experience?’ Because still today, five years later, the only real way to listen to Spotify when you’re working out outside is with your smartphone. And the experience there is only getting tougher as our phones are getting bigger, more fragile and more expensive. So the idea for Mighty came from our personal frustration with the current solutions out there. Which is why we took it upon ourselves to try and build a new one.”
That new solution is about an inch-square, clips onto your clothing and holds around 1000 of your favourite Spotify songs. But how does it work?
“When you first get your Mighty, you’ll need to download the Mighty app for your smartphone,” Anthony explains. “That’ll automatically try to pair your phone to your device via Bluetooth. Once that’s done you’ll see a very familiar interface to Spotify – you sign into your account, go through your playlists, and select which ones to save offline. Except in this instance, instead of saving to your phone the playlists will sync to your Mighty for offline play.
“Once that’s done you can disconnect, leave your phone at home and take your Mighty out on your workout. Any time you want to remove or add playlists, you just connect again via Bluetooth to manage your music.”
It seems simple enough, but there’s a serious amount of tech trickery going on underneath Mighty’s unassuming exterior…
A smartphone by any other name
“You can think of it as a very stripped down smartphone with no screen,” Anthony tells us, explaining that as far as Spotify’s concerned, Mighty’s just another one of your Spotify account’s registered offline devices.
But that doesn’t mean that the team at Mighty – made up of business grads, ex-Google, Samsung and Qualcomm employees – is trying to pull the wool over Spotify’s eyes. In fact, the streaming giant’s a big fan:
“They were really impressed with the technology,” says Anthony. “We’ve been speaking with them for a little over a year now; we’ve had some great conversations with them, and we’re working towards becoming an official Spotify partner.”
Mighty’s smartphone-like innards might help it pass through Spotify’s hoops with flying colours, but it does present challenge that’s clearly a top priority for the team: battery life.
“Some people have looked Mighty and said that the iPod Shuffle has a longer battery life, but there Mighty has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, which is why it makes it ideal to pair with your phone and Spotify account. We’re at five hours of playback now, but we’ll continue through Mighty’s development (and even after, via software updates) to work at getting 10+ hours to bring our customers an even better experience.”
10 hours of playback is plenty for even the slowest of marathon runners out there, but even if you’re not working out Mighty could prove a great little addition to you and your mobile life…
“Streaming apps are some of the most battery hungry on your phone,” Anthony adds, “but Mighty enables you to move those songs off your phone. You can also save music in high bitrates on the Mighty, freeing up storage on your phone while you enjoy music as it was meant to be heard.”
GPS, fitness and more: Mighty 2.0
Having pushed past its fundraising target (thanks to more than 2,700 backers), Mighty is now deep in development for a November release. But we can’t help wondering: what comes after that? It turns out we’re not alone – Anthony’s already way ahead of us.
“There are a tonne of different directions we can go,” Anthony says, “and on multiple different paths. There’s a lot we can do with the hardware, for instance – we can go down the route of waterproofing the device for swimmers, adding a bigger battery for ultramarathoners, and even incorporating our own Bluetooth headphones. There’s also the possibility of adding fitness tracking and GPS if we want to go down the wearable route.”
And then there’s the content. Specifically: adding even more of it…
“The more exciting stuff for me is on the software side. We can definitely open Mighty up to other content services like Deezer, Tidal and Soundcloud, for instance, as well as to podcasts and audiobooks. There’s a lot we have in mind,” he says, “so we’ll soon have to regroup and decide on the best path forwards.
“But at the moment it’s just exciting that there are so many options – Mighty’s Android underpinnings open up a tonne of possibilities.” We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for how those possibilities turn out.
Feel Mighty… You can find out more – and pre-order a Mighty for yourself – from Mighy.audio. For more on Spotify, check out our exclusive look behind the scenes of your Discover Weekly playlist. To find out how you can grab Spotify Premium at no extra cost, click here.