Spotify is entering the hardware market with Car Thing, a smart music player meant to sit on the dashboard.
The company issued car thing For a limited number of subscribers in October, it was announced on Tuesday that anyone can buy the device for $90 — but you need a Spotify Premium subscription to use it. Spotify Premium currently costs $10 per month for individuals, with plans up to $16 per month for six accounts. Car Thing also requires a connection to your phone for mobile data or Wi-Fi.
The device aims to provide a way to listen to Spotify in your car without having to look at your phone or deal with annoying compact car interfaces, which can be dangerous for use on the road. The 12V power adapter connects to the car object and your car’s auxiliary power outlet, then the device connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Finally, you connect the device to your car stereo via AUX, Bluetooth, or USB. The player also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Voice control is the most notable feature of the device; you may monitoring Car Thing by saying, “Hey Spotify,” followed by a command, such as “Sort my favorite songs.” The system does not yet support some actions, such as adding songs or podcasts to the queue, but Spotify is working on adding more commands.
However, Car Thing can provide hands-free media control for cars that lack the feature. Of course, smartphones can also enable voice control, but people who aren’t keen on constantly listening to their phone might consider using the feature through a dedicated device in their car.
The Car Thing has near and mid-field microphones with adaptive interference cancellation to help block out car sounds while driving and honking. The device has a 4-inch touchscreen display, a swipe-to-scroll rotary knob, and a small “backward” button south of that.
The four buttons on the top of the device are reminiscent of traditional radio controls, with presets for your choice of playlist, podcast, news programme, artist or album. The fifth button shows the settings menu or mutes the sound. The device has a unibody design with “matte rubber detailing” for “easy navigation”, Spotify Says.
Spotify says it plans to make device updates based on feedback from the initial limited release. This includes a night mode that dims the screen while driving in the evening.
Spotify’s Car Thing marks the music streaming service’s first foray into hardware. The company is currently running Podcast integration challenges Distribution is in its business model, so we’ll see if the “car thing” is something less controversial.
“Analyst. Web buff. Wannabe beer trailblazer. Certified music expert. Zombie lover. Explorer. Pop culture fanatic.”