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Spotify makes the first hardware game with Car Thing



  Car Thing
Car Thing hits American roads for a test drive.
Photo: Spotify

Spotify finally makes its first priority to become a hardware company.

The music streaming service revealed plans this week to start testing its new device, called Car Thing, a voice-controlled smart car assistant.

Car Thing was created as a tool to help Spotify learn how people consume music and podcasts as they drive. It plugs into the car's cigarette lighter and then connects to the phone and car via Bluetooth. The body has a circular display along with four touch-sensitive control buttons.

Like Siri and Google Assistant, Car Thing can respond to commands whenever you say "Hey Spotify." In the blog post that advertised the device, the company has not really explained what kind of commands Car Thing can handle, although they are probably all related to audio consumption. This is not a device intended to compete with dash-mounted navigation. Although successful, it could potentially morph into something that puts it on a collision course to compete with Apple's CarPlay.

If you hope to get a car thing in your vehicle, you may be unlucky. Spotify has no plans to launch it to the public yet. Instead, testing Car Play with a small group will invite Spotify Premium users in the United States. There is not even a way to apply for testing.

Car Thing may not be the only piece of hardware Spotify has come down in the pipeline though. The Verge claims that the company has the trademark Voice Thing and Home Thing, suggesting that the company has broader ambitions. For now, Spotify understands that the focus is not on creating hardware.


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