28 April 2021
Spotify has ventured into the hardware space with the announcement of Car Thing. It is a smart media player for car drivers with access only to Spotify catalog of music and podcasts. It is part of a limited release and is available only for select invited Spotify users in the United States. This is the reason it currently costs nothing and the company is only charging shipping fees.
The Car Thing looks like any other in-car infotainment system with a large display. The major difference in the appearance is the presence of a big dial on the right side along with a physical button. The display will show you what is currently playing on Spotify as well as different options/menus to help you browse different content.
The good thing is that there are four ways you can interact with the system. The first one is voice commands where you can use the "Hey Spotify" hotword to get things done. The dial on the right side can be turned to browse catalog and media playback controls. It further has touchscreen input support as well as four dedicated buttons that act as shortcuts to your favorite artists, playlists, stations, and podcasts.
Spotify has priced the Car Thing media player at $79.99 but is currently not asking users to pay. All selected users will get free access to the device but will only have to pay a shipping fee. It is listed as $6.99 for everyone in the United States except for Alaska and Hawaii where the fee is $14.99. If interested, you can visit the official website and join the waitlist.