Car Thing: Spotify’s First Smart Assistant Hardware

Spotify has announced its first hardware — a voice-controlled smart assistant for cars called “Car Thing.”

The company has noted that the purpose of the device is to learn how people consume audio while they’re driving.

As part of the testing phase, some Premium users will be the lucky recipients of the device for free.

The Car Thing plugs into a 12-volt vehicle outlet (cigarette lighter) for power. It then connects to a person’s car and phone over Bluetooth.

The device is activated when a user says “Hey, Spotify.” Then they can make a music request. It’ll be linked to a user’s Spotify account, so they can easily access their favorite playlists in the car.

As for the hardware, Car Thing has a circular screen on one side, which shows what is playing. The other side has a bunch of buttons that can be used for playlist navigation.

Spotify has announced that the test will be kept pretty small and begin in the next few weeks in the US. Spotify will reach out to people it’s considering for the Car Thing testing phase.

Spotify noted that Car Thing was created to “help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts,” according to a blog post.

Something else interesting to note in the blog post is that Spotify has trademarked not only the Car Thing name, but also Voice Thing and Home Thing, suggesting a potential home smart speaker in the future of the company.

Spotify created Car Thing to test in-car music use is not really suprising, considering its integration with Waze, which notes driving mode.

However, if someone is playing music through Bluetooth, third-party app or aux cable, then Spotify wouldn’t know.

Car Thing may be able to change the user data that the company can collect.