Roku, purveyor of streaming set-top boxes, could be working on its very own smart speaker that would work in a similar way to Amazon Echo and Google Home, according to some recent job listings.
Variety has noticed the new job openings and claims to have also seen other public documents that all point to a speaker being in the works. Some of the job openings include a senior software engineer, audio and a senior software engineer, new products, audio (expert). So clearly audio capabilities and quality are high on Roku's agenda.
The company is also looking to hire a senior interaction designer, voice along with a voice user interface designer. These two listings both suggest Roku is looking to develop a product that responds to voice commands.
However, Roku does already offer some basic voice-control in its higher end products, with users being able to search for content through a Roku box using the included remote control.
The company may just be looking to enhance this feature, but with Amazon Echo, Google Home and the incoming Apple HomePod all vying for a space in the living room, we wouldn't be surprised if Roku wanted a slice of the action too.
Roku has already hired some people in recent months that would suggest the latter, such as Tyler Bell who is leading product management for voice, natural language understanding, automated speech recognition and artificial intelligence. All of these responsibilities scream voice-controlled smart speaker.
Variety has touched on the fact that Roku has teamed up with TV manufacturers such as TCL to offer cheap TVs powered by Roku's own operating system. Because of the low price, these TVs don't have the necessary hardware to be controlled by voice.
Roku could therefore be developing a small, inexpensive device to connect to a Roku TV to allow voice-control.
- Apple HomePod: Price, release date, specs and everything you need to know
- Amazon Echo: What can Alexa do and what services are compatible?
Roku hasn't commented on the story just yet, but Variety points out that the company will go public later this year, so may announce any new product plans at the same time.