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Spotify is testing its first piece of hardware – the voice-controlled ‘Car Thing’

Published May 17th, 2019 4:02PM EDT
Spotify Car Player
Image: JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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Spotify has started testing its first piece of hardware, a music player for your car that the company has named “Car Thing” and which will apparently serve an even more important purpose than going on sale as a mainstream consumer electronics gadget.

In a blog post today, the streaming music giant stressed that it has no plans currently to put the device on sale. Instead, the plan is to use it as a way to learn more about its users — their habits, preferences and the like.

“Car Thing was developed to help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts,” the company writes in the post. “Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform — not on creating hardware.” It goes on to reiterate that there no current plans to make this device available to consumers, “but the learnings from our test will dictate how we develop experiences everywhere you listen.”

A small group of Spotify Premium users is reportedly testing “Car Thing,” which plugs into the user’s car and can access their Spotify songs and playlists. The users will also interact with the voice-controlled device by saying “Hey, Spotify.”

The Financial Times citing anonymous sources had reported earlier this year that Spotify was looking to produce its first piece of hardware presumably as a means of doing an end run around the in-car software from tech giants like Apple and Google. Both of which are increasingly solidifying their respective presences in the car space, with their CarPlay and Android Auto software platforms.

Spotify certainly supports both of those, but you could argue that it would be more beneficial for its users if the company developed an offering of its own. Not everyone, for example, has a newer car that includes CarPlay or Android Auto. It’s also worth pointing out, however, that Spotify is also thinking beyond the car here.

“We might do similar voice-specific tests in the future,” the company adds in today’s blog post, “so don’t be surprised if you hear about ‘Voice Thing’ and ‘Home Thing.'”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.