Spotify Car Thing, the streaming giant’s first audio hardware product, is now widely available for purchase in the United States priced at $90, marking a $10 premium from the original asking price. Announced officially in April last year, the device was actually leaked all the way back in 2018. When the Car Thing experiment launched, it came with a few design tweaks like a color display and multiple buttons for playback controls.
Market availability has been a tricky road for Spotify’s dashboard music gadget. Spotify initially touted $80 as the “anticipated retail price.” In order to generate some buzz, the company offered it for free to Spotify Premium subscribers for a limited time, creating a long waitlist in the process. For those that were invited, the main cost involved was the $6.99 shipping and handling fee. In October of 2021, the waitlist was opened to all paid subscribers in the US, with the price set at $80.
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Today, Spotify’s audio car accessory has officially become available to buy. Spotify says Car Thing is now available for $90, which amounts to a $10 hike from its initial price. As for what the device does, it’s a digital music player that can be hooked up to the dashboard while connected to the phone for controlling music playback. There’s a large dial on the right that lets users browse through the music library, and handle playback responsibilities. There are four buttons at the top that act as shortcuts for accessing favorite artists, playlists, podcasts, and stations. These buttons are customizable, and tapping one opens the latest episode of a podcast or addition to a library.
Strictly For Spotify Devotees
The “Hey Spotify” voice command can also be used to handle music streaming duties, such as “Hey Spotify, play my Daily Drive.” Substituting “play” with “show” opens the specified library or playlist. A Spotify Premium subscription is mandatory for the setup and Spotify Car Thing needs to be plugged in to a 12V power outlet using the supplied power adapter and cable. Once hooked up to the car, the next step is connecting the gadget with a phone over Bluetooth. For the final step, the phone needs to be linked with the car’s infotainment system via a USB or AUX cable. The phone-car pairing can also take place over Bluetooth as well.
Spotify Car Thing comes with three types of mounts in the box that stay locked in place via magnets. Spotify has a name for all three based on their dashboard positioning — CD Mount, Dash mount, and Vent mount. Thankfully, all the connectivity and mounting peripherals come bundled in the retail package. It is worth noting that Car Thing doesn’t feature speakers, and actually routes the audio playback through a car’s in-built speakers. Spotify’s offering does target a niche audience, and sounds like a redundant addition for a car with a decent touch-screen interface powered by Android Auto or Apple’s rival solution. However, for those highly invested in Spotify, it might prove to be a worthwhile investment.