Spotify makes first hardware play with Car Thing

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Car Thing
Car Thing is hitting U.S. roads for a test drive.
Photo: Spotify

Spotify is finally making its first foray into becoming a hardware company.

The music streaming service revealed plans this week to start testing its new device called Car Thing, a voice-controlled smart assistant for cars.

Car Thing was made as a tool to help Spotify learn how people consume music and podcasts when they drive. It plugs into a your car’s cigarette lighter and then connects to your phone and and car via Bluetooth. The body features a circular display along with four touch-sensitive control buttons.

Just like Siri and Google Assistant, Car Thing can respond to commands anytime you say “Hey Spotify.” In its blog post announcing the device, the company hasn’t really explained what kind of commands Car Thing can handle, though they’re probably all related to audio consumption. This isn’t a device meant to compete with dash-mounted navigations. Although if it does become successful it could potentially morph into something that sets it on a collision course to compete with Apple’s CarPlay.

If you’re hoping to get a Car Thing in your vehicle, you might be out of luck. Spotify doesn’t have plans to launch it to the public yet. Instead, it will test Car Play with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users in the US. There isn’t even a way to apply to test it.

Car Thing might not be the only piece of hardware Spotify has coming down the pipeline though. The Verge claims the company has trademarked Voice Thing and Home Thing, suggesting the company has broader ambitions. For now though, Spotify insists its focus is not on creating hardware.