In April 2021, Spotify announced its exploration of a smart player for the car. In October, the company did a limited release of Car Thing to Spotify Premium users. Now the device is available for purchase in the U.S. for $89.99 with a few caveats.
If you’re tired of arguing with Hey Siri, you can switch to Hey Spotify voice commands. If Spotify doesn’t listen any better than Siri does, there are also “simple taps, turns, and swipes” for a seamless in-car experience. With a reported 2 million people on the waitlist, it’s easy to wonder “what is this thing that’s so different from my iPhone that it should cost $90 plus a monthly subscription?”
Recently CNET took a look at what it’s like to, but with sales locked behind an invitation system for select Premium subscribers, most consumers wouldn’t get an opportunity to find out for themselves what the Car Thing’s deal is. As the hype train prepares to leave the station again, I think it’s worth revisiting what the Spotify Car Thing is and, more importantly, what it’s not.
Here’s how Spotify describes the beta period for it’s new hardware and how you can in theory get in on it.
During our exploration phase, we discovered a lot about how people listen in the car, and for many users, how Car Thing can help improve that experience. We heard from drivers some requests that we are working to incorporate into future Car Thing updates. These include Night Mode, which dims screen brightness in the evening, and an Add to Queue command, which lets you queue up your favorite music and podcasts by simply using your voice. Car Thing is now available to purchase for $89.99 and requires a Spotify Premium subscription plan along with a phone with a mobile data connection. You can find more details about how to use the device at carthing.spotify.com.
Per Spotify, here’s what you need to know:
- Select users in the U.S. who have signed up for the Car Thing waitlist will be among the first to purchase Car Thing for $79.99.
- All U.S. Spotify users — Free and Premium — can sign up for the Car Thing waitlist.
- Car Thing does require a paid Spotify Premium subscription plan — whether that’s an Individual, Family, Duo, or Student plan — and it connects to your smartphone for mobile data.
- We’ve already released some software updates and will continue to evolve and improve it over time.
- Check out if you’re eligible and the other terms that apply.
This article appeared first in our sister publication, Sound & Video Contractor.