Martin Varsavsky has made wifi social, and now he wants to do the same with music. He is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and the founder of Fon, whose latest product – Gramofon – was being shown to the public for the first time at a small, private gathering at the Amano Hotel in Berlin’s upmarket Mitte district on Tuesday.
The device, which takes inspiration for its name from the original record player from the 1800s, is a small box that streams music. It fits right in the palm of your hand and multiple people can simultaneously control the music from their phone; hence the “social element.”
Martin said he came up with the idea at a house party. He was watching people take turns plugging their iPhones into the stereo to play music and, like so many entrepreneurs, he thought: “There has to be a better way to do this.”
Fon has been building hardware routers for about seven years, so making the Gramofon was something the team already had significant experience with. Still, there was some division internally about whether or not to build the device in the first place. So they decided to crowd fund it.
Right now the Gramofon only works with Spotify, which also helped in developing the device. The Spotify app runs natively on the Gramofon’s small motherboard, so music isn’t being streamed from your phone to the Gramofon; instead it is being streamed directly from the Gramofon.
You need a Fon or Facebook account to log in to the Gramofon’s smartphone app, which can be run on an iPhone, iPad or Android phone. Once logged into the app, the user can control what is being played through the device. Sounds cool.
The device acts like a router, and connects to your network over wifi or ethernet.
SoundCloud is the next music service that will be showing up on the Gramofon. When that is, we don’t know. But we will be listening out for it.