Spotify Car Thing in-app renders hint at an actual product launch

A couple of years ago, Spotify introduced a test device referred to as Car Thing, a product that featured a small display, controls, and voice command support. The device was designed for use in cars, though only as something like a tool for better understanding how subscribers listen to the service. Now, a new leak suggests, an actual consumer product may be planned.

Spotify's Car Thing wasn't intended to launch as something consumers can purchase and the company hasn't said anything contrary in the couple of years since the device first appeared. However, the recent discovery of official Car Thing renders in the Spotify app reveals an updated design and possible plans to release a commercial device.

The discovery was made by 9to5Mac's Steve Moser in the Spotify app's code, this finding joining the FCC filings about Car Thing that surfaced back in January. The renders reveal an updated design with a larger rectangular display, as well as a big control knob and a smaller button below it.

The design mirrors the description provided in the Car Things FCC documentation, which mentioned buttons and voice control. The device was described as an accessory for Spotify users to connect with their car's Bluetooth sound system and easily play music and podcasts through their car.

Car Thing would plug into the car's 12-volt outlet and connect to the car in the same was a phone mount. The combination of leaks — particularly the discovery of renders in the app's code — indicates that Spotify may be planning to release a consumer version of the accessory.

Of course, this raises questions over whether there's actually any value in having a dedicated car accessory that can only access and stream Spotify content. The average smartphone is just as capable of connecting to a vehicle's infotainment system over Bluetooth and streaming music from the app. Spending money on a limited accessory to do the exact same thing isn't particularly appealing.