Spotify Car Thing’s latest update brings it closer than ever to an in-car display

But Android users will have to wait for the best parts


Car Thing review 2

After years of testing – first privately, then with public invites – Spotify finally made its Car Thing gadget available for anyone to buy. We took it for a test drive and found it to be an interesting piece of hardware mostly let down by its software, effectively acting as a mirror for whatever your phone played without navigation, notifications, or anything else. With its first major update, Spotify is bringing the gadget a whole lot closer to the affordable in-car display many of us hoped it’d be.

Car Thing is getting a handful of features to help you jam out during your next commute, but the coolest additions aren’t related to music at all. Although it’s not quite as useful as text replies would be, users can now view, answer, and dismiss phone calls right from the built-in display, just like if you were using Android Auto. Car Thing also adds media controls for other apps, although it’s unclear exactly how this will work. Spotify’s changelog says you can switch back to its app at any time, which seems to imply a basic playback screen for podcast apps on your phone.

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Of course, Car Thing is all about the music, and to that end, the company is introducing two features to help load up your favorite songs. Drivers can now add songs and podcast episodes to the queue, either through touch, the dial, or voice. It’s silly that this feature was not available at launch, but it definitely seems like a “better late than never” situation. Spotify also supports personalized playlist requests now, through voice commands using its custom wake word.

Unfortunately, Android users will have to wait a while to try out those non-music features. While iOS devices are getting these updates sometime this week, Spotify’s blog post simply says phone calls and external media controls will arrive on Android “at a later date.”


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