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Home / Features / Spotify’s Car Thing explained: control music in your car with a dedicated smart display

Spotify’s Car Thing explained: control music in your car with a dedicated smart display

Yes, that really is the name

Spotify is pretty well-known as one of the most-loved music streaming platforms. But the streaming giant has recently skipped itself over to hardware, releasing a smart display for the car.

Named Car Thing, Spotify’s smart display brings dedicated music control to your car. It lets you control the music playing on your phone, without ever having to touch it. It’s safer, it’s more seamless, and it’s a way to smarten up your car.

Right off the bat, we want to make it clear who Spotify’s Car Thing is for. If your car already has a display or infotainment system, it probably isn’t for you. If your motor is missing some of these more recent techy features, keep on reading.

Spotify’s Car Thing does one thing

With Car Thing, Spotify Premium listeners can easily play and control their favourite music and podcasts. The smart device offers “Hey Spotify” voice commands, alongside a touchscreen and a control dial. Car Thing is all about putting your music at your fingertips, and closer to your steering wheel.

Using Car Thing, you can access albums, songs, and playlists without taking your phone out of your pocket. The display fits onto your car’s centre console through the air vents, CD slot, or on the dash. It plugs into the 12-volt socket with an included adapter and USB cable. Car Thing connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and then you’ll need to connect your phone to your car via Bluetooth or an AUX cord.

Spotify is going for simplicity with Car Thing. It only focuses on giving you control of your music. Unlike other in-car displays, you won’t be able to pull up notifications or directions. Car Thing focuses on one thing, and one thing only: your tunes.

How do I get this Car Thing?

Car Thing is available from Spotify’s dedicated site for the product. It retails for $89.99 including shipping. Unfortunately, the smart device is currently only available in the US. We’re hoping Spotify sends it over to British roads in the near future, but Spotify has kept tight-lipped.

Stuff says: Spotify’s Car Thing is an interesting way to bring smart tech to the car. The dedicated display lets you easily control your music, but that’s about all. Car Thing piggybacks off your phone to play the music, so you’re more or less just getting the display (and the convenience). It’s perfect if you just want a music control screen for your car. But, if you’re after a screen that shows directions, notifications, and more, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

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Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around six years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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