Spotify Car Thing may not be the most inspired name for a streaming smart device for your car, but it does explain what it is. While it is already possible to stream your Spotify playlists in your car through your phone it does require other software, such as an Apple CarPlay headunit to do it properly. The Car Thing, meanwhile, offers both a visual and voice control of your Spotify playlist, allowing you to stream easily in any vehicle.
The device itself features a 4-inch screen with a large front dial for navigation and four preset buttons on the top of the unit. The Car Thing also features four near-field and mid-field microphones to allow it to respond to voice commands, using the wake term, “hey, Spotify.”
The Spotify Car Thing is designed to be mounted on your dash, with options for attaching to your CD tray, to an air vent or to the dash itself. It is powered via a USB adapter which can plug into your 12V power outlet or USB – if you have one. It then requires a Bluetooth connection to your phone and an active Spotify Premium account.
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Interestingly, the Car Thing doesn’t connect directly to your car stereo – either by Bluetooth or cable. Instead, it is your phone that still connects but whatever means you would normally plug it into your car. This means the Car Thing is working more as a Spotify remote for your phone than a car player. The benefit though is that you can still connect your phone through CarPlay or Android Auto, if you have it, without any conflict issues.
If your car already has a large touchscreen offering CarPlay or Android Auto, there is probably little benefit in adding this device. However, if you plug in to an Aux port on an older screenless stereo, this will definitely be a benefit.
Currently, Spotify is providing a limited release of the Car Thing for free to existing subscribers in the US, just requiring $6.99 postage ($14.99 to Alaska and Hawaii). You just need to register your interest on the Spotify website and lucky users will be notified. If the trial is successful, The Spotify Car Thing is expected to retail for $79.99 (£58 / AU$105).