New details have emerged about Spotify’s long-running ‘Car Thing’ project, including images uncovered in the Spotify app code.
MacRumors contributor Steve Moser shared the Car Thing images on Twitter, which reveal a small, roughly phone-sized device. It’s got a large knob on it, likely for controlling volume, as well as what appears to be a series of buttons along the top edge. There also appears to be a circular button below the large knob. It’s not clear what purpose these buttons serve.
Further, some images show various mounting options, including a vent clip mount and what appears to be a CD drive mounting option. It’s not clear if Spotify would include the mounting options with the device, or if they’d be available as a separate purchase. MacRumors notes that there are indications the device could offer directions, potentially through a Spotify and Waze partnership.
I imagine the knob on Spotify’s Car Thing is for volume and it looks like your phone connects to both Car Thing and your car’s audio via BT. I wonder if Car Thing could show directions as well. pic.twitter.com/1pDq1HMFwI
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) April 2, 2021
The images show a fairly dramatic departure from the original Car Thing design that popped up back in 2019. That design featured a small circular display and a series of buttons to control the device. At the time, Spotify suggested the Car Thing was a test device the company was building to help it understand more about how people listen to music and podcasts.
While we don’t know much else about the device from the photos, a recent FCC filing describes Car Thing as a “voice controlled accessory.” It uses Bluetooth, can communicate with in-car head units and draws power from a 12V outlet.
Although Spotify previously indicated the Car Thing wouldn’t be available to customers, this significant redesign suggests Spotify may be gearing up to actually sell the Car Thing. The device does look neat, but I’m not sure how big of a market it’d actually have.
For one, many vehicles include Android Auto or CarPlay, which already offer access to Spotify and navigation apps.
And for vehicles without either of those, most people can get away with buying a smartphone mount and using Bluetooth to accomplish the same thing, no extra device needed. Although we don’t know how much Car Thing will cost, I think the price would have to be low enough that it’d be a reasonable option compared to just buying a car mount for your smartphone.