SPOTIFY ANNOUNCED IN 2019 IT PLANNED TO TEST A VOICE-CONTROLLED SMART ASSISTANT FOR CARS CALLED CAR THING. NOW IT’S HIT THE FCC. (Cybertech) – Spotify announced in 2019 it planned to test a voice-controlled smart assistant for cars called Car Thing. It hasn’t revealed much else about the project in the last two years, but it’s not dead yet, as it has appeared at the US Federal Communications Commission.
With a new design and a bigger screen, Car Thing looks totally different from the last time Spotify teased it, though it still functions as a “voice-controlled accessory for phone/Spotify App with supporting display and buttons”, according to a description found in the FCC filings. “Bluetooth-enabled for communication with the Car Head Unit. Powered from a 12V outlet”, the description explained.
The new Car Thing looks almost like a small tablet, with a PopSocket-like Grip at the top. (Here is what it looked like in 2019.) It’s hard to tell from the FCC photos how Car Thing works. Originally, we were told it would plug into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet and connect to both the car and your phone over Bluetooth. It could be voice-activated with “Hey, Spotify,” and then you’d ask for something to play.
It’d be linked to your Spotify account, too, so it could access your playlists. Spotify said in 2019 that it developed Car Thing to help it learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts, but the company also said it had no plans to launch the device for consumers.
More photos of the newest version of Car Thing are available in the FCC filings, including photos of the device powered. Keep in mind when a product hits the FCC it doesn’t mean it will actually ever launch, though sometimes it could mean a release is imminent.
Cybertech contacted Spotify for a comment.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.