Tech

Spotify's touchscreen media player is here and it’s free (for now)

With Spotify Premium and a little luck, you could get one of these standalone Spotify players for free.

Spotify is finally getting into the hardware game.

This week, the music streaming giant took the wraps off its own media player called “Car Thing,” a small, touchable, rectangle that can be mounted on your car’s dashboard and is devoted entirely to playing music and podcasts through Spotify.

Car Thing, which is available on an invite-only basis for now, has a touchscreen and several physical controls, including a dial for scrolling and selecting music, a back-and-settings button, and four top-mounted preset buttons that bring you directly to your favorite playlists or podcasts.

The media player will also come enabled with voice-control for when your hands are occupied with driving and a couple of features – noise suppressing microphones and smart software — that will help it suss out voice commands over the music.

The device, which is about 4.5 inches wide and 2.5 inches tall, should be compatible with almost every modern vehicle, and can be connected via USB, Bluetooth, or an AUX cord, in addition to being compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Set up wise, there are several ways to actually get this thing (no pun intended) set up in your vehicle, all of which involve magnetic mounts on the back of the device.

A CD mount

A dash mount

And a vent mount

To sweeten the deal, Spotify is making Car Thing free to start (aside from shipping). Users can sign up here if they’re interested, though, keep in mind Car Thing is only available to U.S. customers for now and as we mentioned previously, available on a limited, invite-only basis for Spotify Premium users.

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Though Spotify says Car Thing isn’t meant to compete with in-car infotainment systems, the release of dedicated Spotify-playing hardware is a fairly pointed step in that direction. According to the company, Car Thing is one part of its “ubiquity strategy” to help build a seamless experience for users across the board.

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It’s hard to say if Car Thing will achieve that goal, though there does seem to be some utility for users who find manipulating an app on their phone or using their vehicle's entertainment system a bit cumbersome.

$80

Car Thing's anticipated retail price.

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We’ll see if that convenience is worth $80.

SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

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