Spotify's Car Thing Gets New Features Including Calling Support

In October 2021, Spotify launched a standalone voice-activated music streaming gadget it had been working on since 2019. This was the first hardware product to be released by Spotify and its name was Car Thing. The October launch, however, was limited in nature, and the device was only available to a small number of users. Spotify fixed that in February 2022, when the Car Thing was officially made available to consumers across the United States. Two months on, Spotify issued a software update for the Car Thing that adds several new features to the smart player.

When it was first released, the Spotify Car Thing's utility was restricted to simply responding to voice commands and helping users control music playback. It connected with Bluetooth to the Spotify App installed on your smartphone and pulled all your albums, artists, and playlist information to display them on its 4-inch screen. 

The device attached itself to the dashboard and featured a large jog dial that could be twisted to scroll through various options. In addition to responding to the Hey Spotify voice command, the device's touch screen could also be used to control functionality. The latest update to Car Thing expands this functionality significantly.

Phone calls, connectivity, personalization

Perhaps the most significant addition to Car Thing in Spotify's latest update is its newfound ability to respond to phone calls. When paired with your smartphone, Car Thing can be used to see who's calling. A user can even choose to answer and dismiss calls right from the device without using their phone.

While Car Thing started out as a Spotify Exclusive product that only connected to the Spotify App, that no longer is the case. Car Thing now lets users control other media on their phones. This feature, however, is currently only available for iOS users. The company has confirmed that it will eventually roll out to Android devices as well.

Another interesting new addition is the ability to use the Spotify assistant to playback a personalized playlist based on a specific genre, mood, or activity. An example of this – according to Spotify- would be a command like "Hey Spotify, play cozy Sunday RnB."

Queue songs and get the update

A helpful addition in this latest feature drop is the 'Add to queue' feature, which Spotify claims to be among the most requested. It gives users the ability to queue up additional songs and podcasts. The feature can be used in three different ways; the first method is to simply tap the 'add to queue' icon next to a track. The second option is to select "add to queue" using the jog dial, while the last option is to ask the Spotify voice assistant to do it. Spotify says the device will support voice commands like "Hey Spotify, queue [song title here]," or "Hey Spotify, open my queue."

Spotify has confirmed that iOS users with Car Thing would be the first ones to receive these new features. As for the device itself, you can purchase it for $89.99 directly from Spotify. Do note, however, that Car Thing only works if you are a Spotify Premium subscriber.