Since 2019, Spotify has been working with “Car Thing”, a voice-controlled music and podcast assistant. After Spotify announced Car Thing, little else was said about it, but it seems that the company is preparing for a kind of launch.
Back in January, Car Thing appeared in FCC archives, and now photos of Car Thing have been placed in the Spotify app code. MacRumors contributor Steve Moser found several photos of Car Thing, giving us a clear look at the new device.
Spotify’s original Car Thing had a small circular screen with several controls available on a side panel, but the new version has a much larger rectangular screen that is closer to a smartphone in design, along with a large control button and a smaller button.
We do not know what the control button or the smaller button does, but Spotify’s FCC filing described Car Thing as a “voice-controlled accessory for phone / Spotify app with screen and supported buttons.” It is Bluetooth-enabled and can communicate with main units in the car, and it receives power from a 12V socket.
Pictures of various fittings are also included in Spotify’s app, which indicates that Car Thing can be attached to a dashboard or mounted on a ventilation in the car, and it may be sold with these mounting options. There are indications that directions will be supported in some capacity, perhaps through the Waze / Spotify partnership.
When Car Thing was announced, Spotify said it was a test device designed to help the company understand more about how people listen to music and podcasts, and that there were no plans to make the device available to consumers. However, Spotify has continued to work on this device for the past two years and has changed the design significantly, suggesting that it may eventually see a launch.
The Spotify app also has a code for paid subscriptions for podcasts when the company sets out to launch the Anchor podcast creation tool. Spotify will eventually launch a paid podcast subscription feature, but there is some groundwork to be established first. Spotify’s paid podcasts will allow registered Anchor creators to offer paid podcast subscriptions that listeners can subscribe to.
There is another unreleased feature for podcasts that is worth noting – comments. The Spotify app contains code for leaving comments on podcasts, which is not currently available. Spotify users will be able to comment on podcast episodes, and creators will be able to respond.