‘Hey Spotify, play Up First:’ Two weeks with Car Thing

After years of rumorsconfirmation and vague descriptions, Spotify has finally made its first piece of hardware available to select users. Even though the company revealed the full details on Car Thing earlier this month, it’s only a “limited release” right now. I’ve spent two weeks with Car Thing in my car (obviously), and can tell you one thing — this dedicated Spotify player is really more of a controller for the app on your phone.

The backstory

Spotify first tipped its hand on an in-car music player in 2018. It offered a few Reddit users the opportunity to try a compact device that reportedly featured voice control and 4G connectivity. The company didn’t comment at the time, and it’s unclear if any units of this first circular device ever made it out into the wild.

In 2019, reports indicated Spotify was ready to ship an in-car player. All the details from those rumblings turned out to be an accurate description of the Car Thing released this month. The Financial Times report mentioned voice control features, but added new info about preset buttons for playlists and Bluetooth connectivity. Around the same time, the company began adding Car View to its apps: a feature that switches to a simplified player interface when it detects your phone is connected to your vehicle over Bluetooth.

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