Pure announced today that its Jongo speaker system can now be used with any music, audio or radio app. The multi-room, wireless home audio system was previously only usable with the UK consumer electronics manufacturer’s own Spotify-like streaming service, Pure Connect.
Pure may differ from Sonos, the leading wireless manufacturer, by targeting what cloud service director Pete Downton calls the “passive massive” or casual consumer. “We wanted to make an out-of-the-box experience,” says Downton, “something that someone could pick up at Walmart or Best Buy, just plug in and give them access to things that they already know.” Similar to Cricket’s Muve music service (which has over two million subscribers in the US) consumers can add a bundled subscription service, called Connect, to their Jongo device right out of the box. “In order for us to innovate around the product, we had to build our own platform,” says Downton.
It’s still early days for the app, which launched in the US in late October 2013 and currently has over 100,000 US users, according to Downton. The app has three tiers, similarly priced to other services like Spotify; the free tier allows you access to over 20,000 radio stations, 200,000 on-demand podcasts and your personal digital music library; $5 a month unlocks unlimited streaming of the 15 million track music library; $10 a month to cache songs and playlists for offline listening.
The US streaming music market is only about to get more crowded with forthcoming services from Deezer, Beats and Youtube predicted in 2014. “We are not in the business of picking a winning music streaming service or radio app — different services are right for different audiences — but we want to give our customers the most choice,” says Noam Meppen, Pure’s director of sales, U.S. By opening its door to everyone from Pandora to local radio stations, “we have a distinct advantage in terms of serving the mainstream consumer to most of the incumbents of digital music,” says Downton. “We will have a far richer picture of musical activity then just observing what they do on one digital music service — we can build a profile of the user.”
The Pure Connect app can be downloaded to iOS or Android devices and provides simultaneous playback using a combination of Bluetooth and wi-fi over multiple speakers, transmitting live radio, the user’s personal music library and the use of any music, audio or radio app. “The sync is significantly better than what’s in the marketplace today,” says Downton, “supporting high bit rate and multichannel audio.”
Various digital music services may come and go, but smart devices enabled with Bluetooth and compatible with home wi-fi networks are set to become increasingly ubiquitous in American homes. An affordable wireless system controlled through your phone that delivers live radio, podcasts, digital music files and streaming audio covers all bases.
Pure will demo Jongo at CES 2014 and both Android and iOS users will be able to access the first phase of this free new feature during Q1 2014. The Jongo multiroom music system available in Walmart and Best Buy stores and can be purchased online at Amazon.com, Target.com and others.