May 26, 2022

The $90 Spotify Car Thing in-car entertainment system, released to the public in February, has received several new features. The company today announced that it will be adding one of the most requested features by users – the ability to queue songs and podcasts – among other updates that include voice commands, playlists, answering phone calls and managing other media.

The music streaming system is designed to give consumers the ability to more easily listen to Spotify in the car if they don’t already have a built-in media and entertainment system or a car that supports Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Or it can be used with other systems if people like the interface of Car Thing.

Since the Car Thing already connects to the car via USB, Bluetooth, and AUX to stream Spotify from the driver’s phone, it makes sense to let the device work along with the phone’s other features.

Spotify says device owners can now view and reject or answer incoming calls through the Car Thing interface. They can also play and manage other media in the car with the device, and then switch back to Spotify using presets, voice commands, or touching the screen.

image credit: Spotify

Another update will bring the requested “Add to Queue” feature.

Spotify notes that there are multiple ways to use this feature. Car Thing users can click the “Add to Queue” icon next to a song in their track list; Use the device dial to highlight a song, then press and hold to add it to the queue; or use voice commands (for example, “Hey Spotify, queue [song name]I users can view the queue at any time by saying “Hey Spotify, open my queue” or by clicking the button in the Now Playing view.

The company has also updated the Car Thing voice command set to allow device owners to request personalized playlists based on mood, genre or activity. Spotify already offers a number of regularly updated personalized playlists in its app, but now users can say something like “Hey Spotify, play RnB Sunday” and the app will create a playlist based on user requests.

Spotify tried to enter the device market for a while before the public launch of Car Thing this year.

It started in 2019 with hardware experimentation before finally settling on the current design that became the New Car Thing. During this period, the hardware and industrial design of the device has evolved from a small item that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter to a more user-friendly product with large buttons, color touch screens, voice control features, and more. Car Thing has received a very good response so far. Spotify reported that more than 2 million consumers signed up for the waitlist within months of the product’s announcement. However, it is not yet reported how many have been sold.

At launch, Spotify said that the device would soon receive some minor software updates, including the addition of “Night Mode” and “Add to Queue” voice command, so that’s not all of today’s extra surprises.

The new features are available to Car Thing owners today.

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