Spotify is expanding access to its ‘Car Thing’ TechCrunch car entertainment device

Spotify’s in-car entertainment system known as just “Car Thing” launched in the spring by invitation only, is now becoming more widely available. The company announced today, Car Thing becomes available to US users who want to purchase the $ 79.99 device. Previously, Spotify had distributed the product for mere shipping costs during its limited trial period, noting that this was Spotify’s first hardware and it would “make things work properly.”

Now Spotify says that US users who had previously signed up for the waiting list Car Thing will be offered the option to buy the device in front of others. However, any current Spotify user – free or Premium – can sign up for the waiting list for Car Thing. The product is rolled out to these customers over time.

The device requires a Spotify Premium membership (either an individual, family or student plan). Users must also use a smartphone for mobile data. But you do not need a paid subscription to enter your name on the waiting list at this time.

The device itself is a lightweight (3.4 oz.), Thin (4.6 ″ x 2.5 ″ x 0.7 ″) music and podcast player that offers a combination of voice control, buttons, buttons and a touch screen to navigate the menus and select media you want to hear. Through Car Thing, users can access Spotify’s entire catalog of music and podcasts while in their vehicle.

The idea is to offer a way for car owners without built-in infotainment systems, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, to have an easier way to access Spotify’s personal listening experience.

Car Thing can be mounted inside the car in a number of different ways thanks to the many different mounts that come with the gadget along with a car charger and USB-C cable.

Photo credits: Spotify

Its main interface has four preset buttons that let you save your favorite content for quick access. By default, these are configured with your favorite songs and Spotify’s Playlists with Daily Drive and Morning Commute, where the last preset is empty. You can change any of these to match your own preferences.

You can also talk to Car Thing using the “Hey Spotify” voice commands that the device receives through its four microphones at the top. Currently Spotify’s policy regarding its use of voice data explains that the company will collect recordings and transcripts of what you say, along with information about the content it returned to you, and can use the data to improve the feature over time.

Since its limited launch earlier this year, Spotify has already released some software updates aimed at improving the Car Thing experience. The company says it will continue to do so in the future as the device rolls out to more people.

Spotify did not say how many Car Thing devices have been sent to date.

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