Spotify Hopes It Can Replace Android Auto With Its Own Media Player

Spotify has finally taken the wraps off Car Thing, the company’s new hardware product that’s supposed to bring the music service closer to drivers no matter the car they own.
Spotify Car Thing 10 photos
Photo: Spotify
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In theory, Car Thing is a media player whose purpose isn’t necessarily to compete against Android Auto and CarPlay. However, it’s pretty clear this is a direction where Spotify hopes it would eventually expand in, especially as it labels the device as a “smart player for your car.

On the other hand, while Car Thing can provide users with Spotify access, Android Auto already does the same thing and so much more, so it’s hard to think of this device as a complete replacement for Google’s platform.

Car Thing comes with its very own touch-capable display, featuring two different physical buttons, one for going back and another designed as a dial for controlling what shows up on the screen.

It uses Bluetooth, and as weird as it may sound, it needs to be paired with your smartphone, which in turn must be connected to your car’s speakers to stream music. That makes Car Thing more of a dedicated interface for Spotify running on your phone, once again pushing the device into Android Auto territory, though with fewer capabilities.

Car Thing only works with Spotify Premium, and right now, it doesn’t support downloaded content. It packs voice control powered by Spotify’s very own voice integration, allowing you to ask for songs, albums, artists, playlists, stations, and podcasts. There are four microphones on Car Thing to ensure all commands are correctly detected even when the car is in motion.

Only offered as a limited-series device in the United States, Spotify’s Car Thing is available for free only for Premium subscribers manually picked by the company, though shipping fees to be covered.

The device gets its power through a USB-C port, and it ships with a 12V adapter in the box, and three different mounts, including for vents, the dashboard, and even for a CD player.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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