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Spotify Killing Off Car Thing Proves It Has No Idea How Android Auto and CarPlay Work
If you’re a Spotify user, there’s no doubt the launch of Car Thing earlier this year caught your attention, especially as it was supposed to make listening to music a much more enjoyable experience behind the wheel.

Spotify Killing Off Car Thing Proves It Has No Idea How Android Auto and CarPlay Work

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On paper, Car Thing looks like a pretty awesome idea, coming with a large display and physical buttons specifically to control the playback easier while driving.

But in so many ways, Car Thing didn’t make much sense in the first place. And it’s all because of the way it was designed to work.

First and foremost, users needed to connect their mobile devices to Car Thing via Bluetooth. This was a necessary step because the mobile device was the one streaming the music – so no, Car Thing wasn’t running the app itself but served as an interface for the content streamed from your phone.

After the mobile device and Car Thing were paired, users also needed to connect the phone to the stereo system in the car using any of the available options, such as Bluetooth, AUX, or USB. Again, the role of Car Thing was to be placed somewhere in the middle in order to enhance the experience with Spotify, allowing users to rely on the touch screen, the voice command support, and the physical buttons to listen to music while driving.

If you’re not a tech-savvy guy, there’s a good chance Car Thing sounds like a brilliant idea. On the other hand, if you’re already familiar with Spotify as a whole, you probably find Car Thing a ridiculous idea and a waste of money.

In theory, Car Thing was supposed to serve as an alternative to CarPlay and Android Auto, therefore enhancing the music listening experience with a new-generation device.

However, such a strategy makes absolutely no sense, given Spotify has dedicated apps on both CarPlay and Android Auto. Users just need to connect their mobile devices to the Android Auto and CarPlay-compatible head unit in their vehicles (which is directly connected to the stereo system in the cabin) and launch the Spotify app to listen to their favorite tunes. With deep OS integration, the Spotify app also supported voice command input (via Google Assistant or Siri, respectively), touch, and physical controls depending on the car model.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that buying Car Thing if this setup was already available was just a waste of money because it barely added any value to the music listening experience.

Some people out there claim that Spotify made much more sense in cars where Android Auto and CarPlay weren’t available. At some level, this isn’t wrong, given it came with a screen of its own, but what’s the point of buying Car Thing when you can very well stream music from your mobile device directly to the car’s stereo system and use the phone’s screen and built-in voice assistant for input?

At the end of the day, Car Thing was in many ways a redundant product, but what’s even worse is that Spotify seemed very confident it could end up becoming a hit. Still available for purchase today, the device launched with an $89.99 price tag, and needless to say, many subscribers bought it for God knows why.

Five months later, Spotify finally figured out all of the above and decided to kill off the product completely. In other words, the production of Car Thing has been stopped, and while the device is still up for grabs with a hefty discount, Spotify is just trying to clear out the existing inventory.

It’s no surprise that customers aren’t happy with Spotify’s strategy, especially as they spent close to $100 on a device that will soon be worth nothing. For Spotify, it’s very clear that expanding beyond what it does best and stepping into hardware territory isn’t exactly as easy as it thought it would be.

But shockingly, figuring out how CarPlay, Android Auto, and even a standard Bluetooth connection works eventually proved to be quite a challenge for a company that has clearly disappointed its paying customers.

 
 
 
 
 

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