Gramofon, Spotify Integration Campaign Launched on Kickstarter

By Joe Rizzo April 17, 2014

Fon Wireless Ltd. is a company that operates a system of dual access wireless networks, with one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in the world. In July 2013, Fon had over eight million hotspots; today, that number has risen to almost 13 million around the world.

Members, whom the company calls "Foneros," agree to share a part of their bandwidth as a Wi-Fi signal, so that they can connect to other members' hotspots. Consumers that choose not to share their Internet connection can buy Wi-Fi access passes or credit from Fon. Fon members whose hotspots are used to access Wi-Fi by a paying customer can receive part of the revenue.

So the essence of Fon is people sharing Wi-Fi with each other, basically making it crowdsourcing Wi-Fi. Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

On April 16, Fon started a Kickstarter campaign hoping to boost its popularity even more with the Gramofon, a Wi-Fi router that integrates music streaming. The first service that will be available through Gramofon is Spotify, a commercial music streaming service that provides digital rights management-restricted content from record labels.

A statement from Fon states that in this same tradition, “We want to crowdsource a new product we have been working on for over a year, the Gramofon. We are so excited to unveil the Gramofon directly to all of you through Kickstarter.”

Fon is able to create these Wi-Fi hotspots by using a special router that creates two separate signals. One of the signals provides a private hotspot while the other a public one. Its next product, the Gramofon, is the latest compatible router. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, shipping should be set for July. The device will cost $30.

Gramofon competes with audio and media streamers from companies such as Sonos and Roku. By simply connecting the Gramofon to the Internet with an Ethernet cable or wirelessly over Wi-Fi, you can establish a connection to your smartphone and start choosing tunes in an iOS or Android app. The router will also ship with a 3.5 millimeter audio cable and an RCA adapter for connecting it to a stereo system.

The Kickstarter campaign has only just begun. As of this posting, there are already 1,613 backers pledging $73,130. The goal of the campaign is to reach the $250,000 mark. If that happens, then you can expect to see Gramofon sometime this summer.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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