TuneIn Debuts Custom Voice Assistant From Native Voice for Skullcandy Headphones
Audio streaming platform TuneIn has introduced a branded voice assistant built in partnership with voice services provider Native Voice and audio hardware maker Skullcandy. The “Hey TuneIn” AI allows wearers of Skullcandy headphones to use voice commands for hands-free access and control of audio streamed from TuneIn’s catalog of more than 100,000 stations.
Saying “Hey TuneIn” will activate the voice assistant from Skullcandy’s array of headphones. The listener can request specific stations, find out more about them, and adjust volume and playback with conversational language. The voice assistant will come built into new Skullcandy devices equipped with the Skull-iQ operating system. Compatible Skullcandy models include the Grind, Push Active, Crusher ANC, and other wireless earbuds and headphones with integrated voice technology. Those who already own a compatible set of headphones can also update their headphones’ firmware to activate the hands-free TuneIn controls. TuneIn first rolled out the limited, free version of its service as the TuneIn Live skill back in 2018. Amazon partnered with the streaming service so that it now comes preloaded on all Alexa-enabled devices, later adding the TuneIn Premium subscription tier as an option.
“Skullcandy devices are known for giving users the intimate experience of escaping into the world of sound, making them among the best ways to really experience audio content of any genre,” TuneIn CEO Rich Stern explained in the announcement. “The Hey TuneIn voice assistant aims to take that listening experience to the next level. Listeners can easily switch back and forth between a college football game and music during halftime, without missing a beat.”
Skullcandy’s Native Voice
This isn’t Skullcandy and Native Voice’s first collaboration on a custom voice assistant. Audio giant iHeartMedia released a voice assistant connected to its content late last year fueled by the two companies. Skullcandy and Native Voice first announced their partnership at last year’s Amazon’s Alexa Live event, where both Alexa and “Hey Skullcandy” were added to Skullcandy hearables. Skullcandy’s voice assistant is designed for controlling the audio media, answering calls, and related activities, while Alexa offers essentially the same functions as an Echo smart speaker. Native Voice has been building its presence in the custom voice assistant space after raising $14 million in 2021.
“TuneIn’s catalog of over 100,000 local AM/FM stations, plus live news, game-winning sports coverage, and music for every mood is unparalleled. We welcomed the challenge of designing and building a voice interface for TuneIn that embraces the incredible diversity of the catalog and makes it fast and easy for people on the go to find their perfect stream. “Hey TuneIn” harnesses the power of voice and AI to help users to explore everything TuneIn has to offer and enjoy it, hands-free, on the incredible range of Skullcandy Skull-iQ devices,” Native Voice CEO John Goscha said. “We’re particularly excited about bringing live MLB, NHL, Premier League, NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula 1 to sports fanatics with TuneIn Premium subscriptions.”