Spotify's Car Thing launches as a smart player for your car
What you need to know
- Spotify today launched Car Thing, its first hardware product.
- It's a voice and touch-optimized Spotify player for your car.
- Car Thing is currently available in the U.S. on an invite-only basis while supplies last.
Spotify today launched its first hardware product, a smart player for your car. It's appropriately named Car Thing and is meant to augment your car's infotainment system, not replace it.
Spotify presents it as a way to bring the Android Auto or CarPlay experience to people who have older or less modern cars, stressing that "no matter the year or model of your vehicle, we feel everyone should have a superior listening experience."
Car Thing can be controlled with voice, touch, or its dial. If you've got Hey Spotify on your Android phone, you should expect a similar experience with voice on Car Thing. On the other hand, touch is used for more granular navigation. Like with Amazon's newly released car mode, you're more or less only supposed to use this when you're stopped to cut down on distracted driving. The dial is the main tactile interface for this little thing, offering allowing users to browse their Spotify library, select music, and more. There is also a selection of four presets on the main screen, so users can jump into their favorite playlists with minimal fuss.
Car Thing is also a U.S. Thing and a Limited Thing. You'll need an invite to be able to buy it, and Spotify is only giving one unit per customer. Invites can be found at Spotify's web thing. Its limited nature does appear to contradict Spotify's stated goals of universalism, but the company does use the word 'currently', implying that a wider release could be possible if some metric somewhere is reached.
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Surprised the article didn't mention anything about this device's connectivity. For anyone curious, this device needs to be connected to your car's 12v power outlet (it doesn't have a battery), then needs to be tethered over Bluetooth to your phone to use your phone's data plan to stream music. Lastly, the device outputs audio to your car stereo over either Bluetooth or an AUX cable. Spotify Premium account is also required.