Spotify’s Car Thing arrival delayed in Australia
Those Australian Spotify Premium subscribers waiting to use Spotify Car Thing have to hit pause a bit longer.
The in-car entertainment device is the streaming/audio company’s first legit hardware, and it’s already struggling to cope.
Last month Spotify invited its premium privileged to go on its carthing.spotify.com waiting list.
It didn’t expect 2 million to rush to sign on.
“The #1 constraint for us at this particular moment… is chip shortages,” admitted Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
“We just can’t make enough [of the devices] to get them out there to consumers”.
Car Thing, which costs $110 in Australia, is especially convenient for users to navigate Spotify in cars with no, or older, infotainment systems.
Drivers with a smartphone with a wi-fi or mobile data connection can turn on tracks, podcasts, albums or playlists inside Spotify’s library with a “Hey Spotify” command.
Users have the option of a touchscreen or a physical dial that scrolls menus and makes a selection.
Car Thing was initially offered to select Premium subscribers in April before being “launched” in mid-October on a limited basis.
At this point it’s only available to US subscribers until the chip supply is resolved.
Five years ago, Spotify was signalling plans to move into making its own hardware devices.
In job ads for hardware product managers located in its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, it described the hardware as “a category-defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles” and working within the voice space.
There were rumours about MP3 players and Ek himself talked about musical lightbulbs.
But it seems that Spotify realised it was stretching itself too thin, and needed to focus on podcasts and music, and its forecast of reaching 400 million global users by 2021’s end.
So instead it’s been working with gadget-maker companies.
In September Philips Hue’s new line of smart light bulbs, strips and lamps could be synced to Spotify playlists to change colour, brighten or dim along with the beat of a track being played.
More recently, headphones from Samsung, Bose, Microsoft, Skullcandy and Jabra include Spotify Tap, where users tap on their headphones to continue playing the audio track they last listened to.
In April 2021 Spotify blogged: “Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform – not on creating hardware – but we developed Car Thing because we saw a need from our users, many of whom were missing out on a seamless and personalised in-car listening experience.”