Spotify makes its hardware debut with in-vehicle system ‘Car Thing’
Spotify is making its long-awaited move into hardware with Car Thing, a new in-vehicle entertainment system that should throw-down a challenge to radio.
Car Thing — that’s not its working title, that’s what Spotify is going with — was first unveiled two years ago, and this week gets the green light.
It’s an inoffensive device, roughly 10 centimetres in length which would attach to your car’s dashboard.
Users can use Car Thing to tune into Spotify’s entire catalogue of music and podcasts via voice control, a touch screen display or by a chunky dial, and its features include four preset buttons to help you toggle between your fave tunes or talk shows.
The limited release “is not meant to compete with in-car infotainment systems,” reads a statement issued overnight. “Instead, it’s another step in our larger ubiquity strategy—creating a truly frictionless audio experience for our users, wherever they are and however they choose to listen.”
Or in other words, Spotify wants to capture everyone’s attention, everywhere.
When an earlier version was presented to techland in 2019, Spotify insisted it wasn’t going bananas for hardware. That remains its stance today.
“Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform—not on creating hardware,” reads the latest statement.
It’s currently available only in the U.S., and it’ll only work on a Spotify Premium subscription plan and a smartphone with wifi or mobile data connection. And a car, any car.
As Spotify gets the ball rolling, early adopters will need an invite. But the device is free (for a limited time).
If that’s you, you’re on the road.
An international rollout hasn’t been discussed.
Spotify isn’t slowing down. Indeed, the Sweden-originated company wouldn’t know how to activate the handbrake.
According to a statement issued in late February, Spotify has 340 million active users and 150 million “premium” subscribers using its platform across 93 markets, which includes recent launches in Russia and several other Eastern European countries.
As part of its broadest market expansion to date, Spotify recently unveiled plans to roll out in 85 new markets, a move that could introduce 1 billion new listeners to the fold.
Those new markets include Pakistan and Bangladesh, and territories across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.