Everything that’s old is new again. That’s how the tech game is played. Products evolve and leave vacuums for new startups to rush in and fill. For Mighty, the long, slow death of the MP3 player presented just such an opening.
The company launched a Kickstarter last year with the promise of “streaming music without your phone,” delivering the still-tangible benefits of devoted music hardware for the Spotify generation. The startup built up enough excitement to hit $300k on the crowdfunding site, and the recent end of the iPod shuffle and nano have only furthered that interest among consumers.
CEO Anthony Mendelson tells us that company has embraced the media’s christening of the devices as an “iPod shuffle for Spotify.” While much of the underlying technology is different, the principle is basically the same: a screenless, clip-on player for taking music on the go.
It’s a small niche in the overall music listening market, and clearly Apple didn’t see enough value in continuing to produce the things.
But there are certain scenarios that aren’t served by phones alone. Fitness is probably the largest — going for a run with a smartphone is a pain. There’s also an opening for users with an underground commute and people who frequently have to switch into airplane mode. Parents have expressed interest in the device so they don’t have to hand kids their phone to listen to music and people have also picked a Mighty up for elderly parents.
Price was alway the other key to the shuffle’s success, and Mighty has taken great pains to keep its first player under $100. That’s easier said than done for a relatively small run from a brand new company, but the device (known as the M1, internally) is priced at $86 — pricier than the last Shuffle, but at a considerably higher (8GB) capacity. Hitting that price point required some comprises on the company’s part, and there are still a fair number of wrinkles to iron out here,…