Roku could be the next company to produce a smart speaker of their own. The newest batch of the company’s job offers and latest hires have got Variety to speculate that it may be preparing a clone of the Amazon Echo. Currently, Roku is advertising for various roles, with an eye on recruiting experts on audio and voice. A position that is open for a senior software engineer says that the individual’s task is to build the “centre of audio excellence” of the company. Roku is also on the lookout for a “voice user interface designer” who will serve as the company’s “expert on all things voice related.”
Another company that becomes interested in following the runaway success of the Amazon Echo, and Google Home, comes as no surprise. After all, the likes of Sony, Samsung, and Sonos (to name a few) are all promoting or pursuing similar products. However, there is also the probability that the wave of vacancies could simply be connected to the existing line-up of Roku.
Some streaming devices of Roku already boast basic voice controls, which the company could be looking to expand. The firm’s software can also be found on a number of affordable televisions from RCA and TLC. These sets already gather your viewing data to serve up advertisements and reinforcing their voice capabilities could be another way for the company to amass user information. It could also be going after something similar to the Element Fire TV Edition, which packs support for the digital assistant of Amazon.
Still, the recent hires of Roku do little to mask the company’s newfound obsession with audio. Variety discovered that it has been busy recruiting individuals with a background in speech recognition. One such person is Jim Cortez, a senior software engineer, who is dabbling with “voice interfaces” for his employer. Remarkably, Cortez co-founded Ivee, a start-up that created “home voice assistants” such as the Ivee Sleek and the Ivee Voice. Also, there is the fact that Roku has tinkered in audio in the past, after its failed SoundBridge internet radio player.
Reporters have reached out to Roku for comments. However, seeing as it did not respond to the original report, it is apparently keeping quiet on the matter.