Spotify’s Car Thing will soon transform into Spotify’s Car Brick

Spotify’s Car Thing will soon transform into Spotify’s Car Brick

Spotify’s Car Thing, a limited hardware “test” the company began shipping only three years ago, is about to bite the dust. The company wrote on Thursday that the device, which brought Spotify to automobiles without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, will “no longer be operational” as of December 9.

Car Thing was aimed at drivers who want to listen to Spotify in their cars but don’t have modern systems with built-in streaming apps. The $90 device let you control the service with voice recognition and preset buttons, and it had a four-inch color touchscreen. However, Spotify had already discontinued it by mid-2022.

In our 2021 preview, Engadget’s Billy Steele wrote that the gadget seemed unnecessary at first but proved useful after two weeks of use. “While it seems only Spotify die-hards would be interested in something like this, it does offer an upgrade for older cars,” our audio gear expert wrote. “I’m never getting built-in voice control in [the 2006 Honda] Element, and the ability to keep Waze on my phone and Spotify on another display definitely reduced the need to fiddle with either while driving.”

Billy Steele for Engadget

Spotify’s official explanation for ditching its first hardware product is that it’s “part of our ongoing efforts to streamline our product offerings” (read: save money) and that it lets the streaming service “focus on developing new features and enhancements that will ultimately provide a better experience to all Spotify users.”

Those new features and enhancements are anyone’s guess because the company adds that it doesn’t plan on launching a replacement product or a new version of Car Thing. Of course, you can listen to Spotify in your car with your phone connected through Bluetooth or a cable, and many drivers now have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which provide access to much more than a single music app.

Spotify recommends factory resetting the Car Thing and disposing of it after it kicks the bucket in December. The company isn’t offering any refunds or trade-in options — something to keep in mind if it ever rolls out more limited hardware experiments.

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