Spotify has made an announcement that it is releasing of its first hardware device which is strangely called as Car Thing, specifically aimed at Spotify Premium subscribers. This brand new device is surprisingly offering for free shipping. This devices’ testing began in 2019 and today the upgraded version not only has a touch-screen but also a, a big, grip-able knob for navigation, voice control features, and four preset buttons at the top for favorite music, podcasts, or playlists, similar to Spotify on mobile devices.
This device as explained by the company is about solving a need for customers who want a “more seamless” and personalized in-car listening experience. This problem was observed when Spotify pointed out that the average age of a car in the U.S. is actually 11 years old and the average lifetime of cars is 18 years. That means there are still a large number of cars on the road that don’t support modern, in-car infotainment system like cars which today support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The purpose of the “Car Thing” as indicated by the company is to serve this market and likely, to give Spotify the opportunity to explore future business models where it has a more direct relationship with customers inside the vehicle, though the company isn’t speaking to its longer-term ambitions at this time.
Throwing some light on the features of the device, the new Car Thing itself is a lightweight (3.4 oz.), thin (4.6″ x 2.5″ x 0.7″) music and podcast player that offers a combination of voice control, knobs, buttons, and a touch-screen display for navigating its menus and selecting the media you want to hear. One can choose to use set up the device to work via Bluetooth or an AUX or USB cable, depending on how they usually connect their phone to the car stereo to play music. One will also be able to mount Car Thing to the dashboard in a plethora of ways as this device ships with three different types of dash and vent mounts to choose from, along with a car charger and USB-C cable.
At the top of the device, there are 4 preset buttons that let one save favorite content for easy access. By default, these are configured with your Liked Songs and Spotify’s Daily Drive and Morning Commute playlists, with the last preset empty. Many users may just keep these selections, but you can change them at any time, Spotify says.
“In a typical year, Americans spend over 70 billion hours in their cars and there are 250 million cars on America’s roads today,” mentioned Spotify’s Head of Global Culture and Trends, Shanon Cook. “That’s a lot of time spent on the road. So what you do and what you listen to, to help you get through those hours in the car really matters.”
Just for the time being, this new invention is being made available free, however just during the limited release period to give the users enough space to let them adjust to the pay the cost of shipping — a choice Spotify made because Car Thing is still somewhat experimental.
“This is Spotify’s first hardware, and we obviously want to get things right,” said Spotify’s Head of Hardware Products, Andreas Cyborg. “And we want to learn quite a lot here in the beginning, so it’s a natural way for us to start,” he said.