Spotify’s “Car Thing” was first mentioned in 2019, and back then the message was that the company had no “plans” to sell the product to consumers. That seems to have changed because Spotify says the “Car Thing” is now officially released – but so far only in the US.
Car Thing is more or less just a fancy remote and voice control unit for Spotify. It does not have an internet connection itself, so you’ll need to connect it to your phone via Bluetooth for it to get internet access and work. You can use either a mini-jack or Bluetooth to connect it to your car speakers.
Spotify themselves say that they developed the gadget to give car owners a more seamless way to use Spotify – perhaps especially those who do not have a new car with direct access to Spotify via the built-in infotainment system.
According to Spotify, the testing phase has shown that Car Thing users are using Spotify more than before, and that the gadget makes it easier to find the content you want – either through the screen itself or through voice control (by saying “Hey Spotify!”).
The device itself has a large dial that you can use to navigate through your content and press to confirm, as well as a “back button.” There are also four “Favorites” buttons at the top that you can use to launch your favorite playlist, podcasts, or the like.
The touchscreen measures four inches, and the gadget itself is 12.4 centimeters wide, 6.4 centimeters high, and two centimeters deep (with large parts of the device only six millimeters thick). It weighs 90 grams and uses USB-C for power and it comes with an adapter for the cigarette lighter.
It also comes with three different mounts – one for placement in the CD player, one in the air vent, and a general dashboard mount for placement on a flat surface.
Spotify says they have already received requests to allow users to select a “Night mode,” which is said to be coming soon, and an “Add to queue” command for voice control. Car Thing is currently only available in the U.S. for $89.99 and requires a Spotify Premium subscription and a phone with a mobile data connection.