Spotify just launched a gadget for listening to music in the car called Car Thing, and it's currently free

Spotify just launched a gadget for listening to music in the car called Car Thing, and it's currently free
Spotify is giving out Car Things for free while supplies last.Spotify
  • Spotify announced its first piece of hardware, the Car Thing.
  • The Car Thing, as its name suggests, is for listening to music or podcasts in one's car.
  • It should allow owners of older cars to get the benefits of a newer, sleeker infotainment system.

Spotify is moving into the hardware business.

The company on Tuesday announced the Car Thing, a dedicated gadget for listening to podcasts and playlists while driving.
But you can't go out and buy a Car Thing just yet. Spotify is giving the device a limited release, and right now it's available to US Spotify Premium subscribers on an invite-only basis. Customers can sign up for a waitlist to get one for free while supplies last, and Spotify says the Car Thing will eventually cost $79.99.
The Car Thing mounts up to a vehicle's dashboard and plugs into a 12-volt power outlet. To use the device, customers pair their phone to the Car Thing and to their car's audio system. The idea, according to Spotify, is to give users a "seamless" listening experience "no matter the year or model of your vehicle."

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Car Thing users can browse podcasts, playlists, stations, and albums using voice commands, a touch screen, or an analog dial. There are also four buttons on top that allow for easy access to four presets. It's basically like playing music through a phone's Spotify app but using a dedicated hands-free interface instead.

Many new vehicles come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which similarly allow drivers to control phone apps remotely through a car's infotainment screen. So the Car Thing appears to be best suited for older vehicles with clumsy interfaces or ones that don't have infotainment systems at all.

Spotify said it's not trying to compete with in-car infotainment systems and that the Car Thing is part of its "ubiquity strategy" of making listening convenient in all situations.