At the Last Futurist we are easily amused when Snap or Spotify think they can make hardware. So it’s actually a thing. ‘Car Thing’ of course helps you listen to your favorite podcasts while commuting in the car and it’s not a crazy idea.
Spotify’s entry into Podcasts has really been a great success and its first gadget capitalizes on that, where it’s a Spotify-only, voice-controlled device for the car, launching today in limited quantities to invited users. Bring it on, just make sure those Apple smart cars come with said Car Thing circa 2026.
The gadget is noticeably smaller than a smartphone, though it kind of resembles one due to the touch screen. It also reminds me of the satellite radio receiver I used in the pre-merger days of Sirius and XM Radio. Where Apple’s AR glasses will actually become useful before 2030, we aren’t so sure about Snapchat gadgets and Facebook toys. That Spotify is even thinking about car things is rather cute.
Car Thing is only being released as a “limited product launch,” so you can’t buy one outright. Instead, you can sign up for the waitlist and hope Spotify reaches out. It’s just an experiment but if podcasts give you fuzzy feelings then why not!
Car thing is basically a voice controlled Spotify remote that’s free but you have to pay for shipping. Spotify needs to get into the voice-AI game. Spotify is betting that you’ll want voice controls and a dedicated interface to control your audio.
Currently Car Thing pairs with a phone over Bluetooth. So yes, it needs this phone for a data connection and users will require a decent amount of data to stream. Just an FYI.
If Tesla, Baidu and Apple are going to make the EV a software paradise, others want in on that ecosystem. Alexa and yes, everyone. You can also say “Hey Spotify” to play each of the presets if you can’t or don’t want to press any of the buttons (laughs).
Car Thing is just a cute reminder that the future of the smart car is coming and it won’t be anything like in the past. It will for the most part not be something you own or drive and that is something you can customize to your mood, your activity and your social environment.
The new Car Thing 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, knobs, buttons and a touchscreen display for navigating its menus and selecting the media you want to hear.
Designed for your drive, anywhere but here. Immerse yourself with your pet Car Thing.