The best noise-canceling headphones and a premium ad-free music service subscription won’t save your relaxing soundtrack from being interrupted by phone calls or the bleeps of other apps interrupting you. That wasn’t an issue back in the days of the classic iPod, which was a long-play extension of the Walkman-listening model but was limited to whatever music you could load onto it. Enter the Mighty Vibe, It a device that evokes the the iPod shuffle but that offers functionality akin to the Slacker Player device that once worked with that streaming music service. (I wrote about the passing of the torch from the Slacker Player to the Mighty device a bit after the latter’s Kickstarter campaign.)
The Mighty Vibe lets you transfer playlists from Spotify or Amazon Music for offline, uninterrupted playback. It’s not quite as convenient an experience as the Slacker Player was in that that older device had a kind of “top-off” model for filling up cached “stations” of music, but the Mighty Player offers far more control of the listening experience through its app. On its website, Mighty touts that it has no screens, but the company recently wrote a blog post on its distraction-free philosophy. Among the highlights, it calls screens “a trap,” touts the benefits of combining music with screen-free time, and celebrates freedom from the newsfeed in defending why it doesn’t plan to add features like GPS, a heart rate monitor, step counter, and a screen.
The underlying philosophy is sound, but plenty of digital music players of yore managed to keep things simple while succumbing to a screen. Mighty could create something similar to the SanDisk Sansa Clip line, which had a good run, without compromising its focus. On the other hand, those devices were never able to offload much of their management functionality to a handy smartphoe app.