A few years ago, Spotify launched a test device known as Car Thing, a product that featured a small display, controls and support for voice command. The device was designed for use in automobiles, but only as a tool to better understand how subscribers hear the service. Now, a new leak suggests, a real consumer product can be planned.
Spotify’s Car Thing was not intended to be launched as something consumers can buy and the company has said nothing to the contrary in the two years since the device first appeared. However, the recent discovery of official Car Thing renderings in the Spotify app reveals an updated design and possible plans to launch a commercial device.
The discovery was made by Steve Moser of 9to5Mac in the Spotify app code, this discovery joining the FCC Car Thing files that emerged in January. The renderers reveal an updated design with a larger rectangular screen, as well as a large control button and a smaller button below it.
The design reflects the description provided in the Car Things FCC documentation, which mentioned buttons and voice control. The device has been described as an accessory for Spotify users to connect to their cars’ Bluetooth sound system and easily play music and podcasts in their cars.
The Car Thing would be plugged into the car’s 12-volt outlet and connected to the car in the same way as a phone holder. The combination of leaks – particularly the discovery of renderings in the application code – indicates that Spotify may be planning to release a consumer version of the accessory.
Of course, this raises questions about whether there really is any value in having a dedicated car accessory that can only access and stream Spotify content. The average smartphone is also able to connect to a vehicle’s infotainment system via Bluetooth and stream music from the app. Spending money on a limited accessory to do exactly the same thing is not particularly attractive.