Spotify has just rolled out its first ever hardware product, and it has a name that should make its function fairly obvious: Car Thing. In a nutshell, the Car Thing is a smart player that’s supposed to be a dedicated player in your car. As Spotify says, “let your phone do phone stuff. Car Thing has one job and does it awesomely”. The gist of it is that this is probably the most optimised way to use Spotify in your car, and you won’t need to rely on your smartphone to control your tracks—which can be rather finnicky at times.
However, in the fine print, Car Thing still requires you to have a paired smartphone with mobile data, while you also need a paid Spotify Premium subscription, of course. Which does dilute the value proposition that the Car Thing brings to the table, because the way I look at it, Spotify’s dedicated player should negate the need to have a smartphone with you.
Meanwhile, the Car Thing (or should I just call this the Thing?) needs to be plugged into your car’s 12V power outlet, and there is no battery within the player. This is something else that might cause issues for a lot of users—after all, it’s difficult enough to accomodate the vast variety of wires and the like that most users have from their dashcams, phone chargers, and so on. Perhaps a lithium-ion battery would’ve been a good idea here, one that you would only need to charge for a short period everyday.
On the plus side, having a Car Thing in your car would allow you keep your smartphone inside your bag in the car. Unless you need Waze, Google Maps, or YouTube, that is. There’s also a physical knob to navigate through the Spotify interface (don’t you miss non-touch controls?) ,while there are also preset physical buttons along with a mute button on the player. And, there are microphones for voice commands on the Car Thing.
In essence, the Car Thing is the physical embodiment of the Spotify interface, and although there are certainly improvements that ca be made, it’s certainly an interesting move from the music streaming giants. If you’re keen to pick one up, the Car Thing is available at “no cost” for a limited period of time—but only if you’re lucky eough to get a spot on the waiting list, and if you’re willing to pay the shipping fee of USD 6.99 (~RM28). Oh, and if you’re in the U.S.
So, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.