Spotify has started testing the new “Car Mode” interface with some users, gaming-updates confirmed on Friday. The test comes a few months after Spotify announced it would be deprecating a simplified car interface called “Car View” that provides playback controls and displays the current track while driving. At the time, Spotify said it was exploring new ways to listen to music in the car and would launch new features soon.
“At Spotify, we are always working to ensure that our users have the best listening experience,” said Spotify spokesperson gaming-updates. “We can confirm that we are testing a new car mode for some users. As with all of our tests, we are always looking for feedback from our users before implementing changes on a larger scale.”
The new interface was first spotted by 9to5Google. The site contains screenshots of the Android version of Car Mode. Spotify hasn’t said if the new interface will be tested with iOS users.
The screenshot shows that in car mode, users can browse and search for music using voice control. Automotive mode includes simple controls such as play/pause, shuffle and similar buttons in track playback mode. There’s also a microphone button that you can use to search your Spotify library in car mode. You can also use voice control to access recently played music or podcasts. The layout is similar to the regular Spotify interface, but without any of the visual distractions normally found on screen.
Spotify is still testing the new interface and seeking feedback from users accessing it, which means the final version of Car Mode may look different than the screenshot above.
The new car mode is just part of Spotify’s effort to provide a smooth listening experience in the car. Last April, the company officially announced the limited release in the US of its first hardware device, called the Car Thing. The device is intended for Spotify Premium subscribers and car owners who do not have a built-in infotainment system that provides easy access to Spotify, such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Spotify made Car Thing available to the general public in November for $89.99.
Car Thing connects to the Spotify mobile app on your phone and then uses your phone’s mobile signal (or Wi-Fi, if available) to stream music or podcasts through your car’s audio system. The device works with USB, Bluetooth and AUX. You can access the service by saying “Hey Spotify”, by touching the touch screen, by turning the knob, or by using one of the four preset buttons on the top of the player.
Spotify also integrates with Google Assistant for hands-free music and podcast streaming while driving. This feature also works with Google Maps so you can navigate while listening to Spotify. To do this, you can link your accounts and say “Hey Google, play Spotify”.