The company’s Car Thing device has been on a limited waitlist for some time, but it is now available to the general public for purchase. Spotify’s new media player for your car is a small 4-inch touch display with a physical dial that allows you to browse through all of your favorite tunes on Spotify. It can also be controlled with your voice by saying “Hey Spotify”, followed by your desired command.
It comes with the parts to properly mount it to your dashboard and then you plug it in via USB-C for power. All in all, it sounds like a fascinating device. Until you consider its limitations. All it is really is a remote for your phone. Your phone is still doing all of the work, only now it is doing it from your pocket, or from the seat next to you, or the accessory tray, or anywhere else you decide to stash it.
Your phone is still required to connect to your vehicle (Bluetooth or Aux/wired). Car Thing then connects to your phone to control it. So it isn’t much different then mounting your phone on the dashboard like normal (outside of the fact that Car Thing has a smaller screen). So your phone is using its data connection, it is sending the audio to your car, and Car Thing is simply allowing you to control it all remotely using your finger or your voice (all of which can be done via your phone as well).
Tack on the fact that this will cost you $90 and requires a Spotify Premium subscription to work, and we don’t quite think this “thing” will have much of a lifespan in the market. Like many remote options for your phone, it will likely (eventually) end up in the trunk or a box in your garage where it will then be forgotten. Kind of like some of the third-party Alexa options for your car that are really just remote connections to the Alexa on your phone (which usually lose connection to the phone or Alexa quite frequently).
This does have a niche and there will be plenty of people that jump at buying one. We just don’t see it lasting too long. It will likely become a device “that had potential” but wasn’t really thought through completely before release. Users will likely find themselves right back to mounting their phones to the dashboard since they offer all of this and more (maps, communication, and so forth).