The latest challenger to Sonos in the connected audio hardware market is Aether, a startup whose first product will be a $399 speaker called Cone. Due to launch in the US this summer, it connects to streaming music and internet radio services – one of Friis’ other companies, Rdio, is the only one confirmed so far – to play music. The theory behind Cone is that it will learn about people’s musical habits, and attempt to play them suitable music for the time and day that it’s being used – “physical objects which live in our everyday lives around but have the ability to think and process the data that is freely available and make decisions and to make this choice and selection in a human way” as Aether’s co-founder Duncan Lamb puts it. Voice recognition technology will also be built in.

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