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First Look: Spotify’s Mysterious Music Streaming Gadget, Car Thing

Last May, Swedish music streaming giant Spotify announced a voice-activated music streaming gadget called the Car Thing.

But despite the hype, Spotify said the device would only be available to selected users as a test for how people listen to music and podcasts in their cars.

Filings for the prototype with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and first reported on by Business Insider gives us the first look at the mysterious device, but could also suggest the music streaming giant could be planning to release it to the market for sale at some point.

The unidentified Spotify users who may have received the prototype Car Thing have not seemed to have made any mentions of it on social media or online – both users and Spotify have been tight-lipped about Car Thing since the first announcement last May.

The Car Thing has a built-in 4G/LTE modem to stream music through without pairing with a phone, with an additional cache to stop the device from cutting out music when reception disappears.

Additionally, the device is also equipped with voice-control, a popular feature that’s been incorporated into most smart devices this year resulting from high consumer demand, so that the driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road to change the track.

But despite the first filing from Spotify to the FCC at the end of May 2019, they didn’t reveal too many details about Car Thing. That was up until Spotify updated that filing in September to include photos of the device itself, as well as a user manual.

A first look at the device shows that Spotify has designed it in their trademark black and green colour set.

But the aesthetic still seems slightly compromised, being clunky-looking rather than sleek and having multi-functioning mounting capabilities, to be attached to car vents, dashboards or CD slots.

The device has an adaptor to connect to the dock and a power source – you can also connect it to the car’s media system using either Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable.

The photographs also revealed that Car Thing doesn’t have a touch screen, leaving owners to manually control it or use voice-control.

Car Thing responds, similarly to Google and Amazon, to the question ‘Hey Spotify.’ Once engaged with the user, it will then follow your voice controls.

Finally, the device will only be powered if the owner connects it to their personal Spotify account and will not run any other streaming service.

It’s bad news for any consumer who only uses Apple Music, Amazon Music, Soundcloud or Tidal.

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