Spotify’s ‘Car Thing’ Entertainment System Gets New Features and Add to Queue Feature – TechCrunch

Spotify’s $90 “Car Thing” in-car entertainment system, which went on sale in February, gets a host of new features. The company announced today that it would be adding one of its most requested features – the ability to add songs and podcasts to a queue, alongside other updates affecting voice commands, playlists, answering phone calls and controlling other media.

The music streaming system aims to offer consumers an easier way to listen to Spotify in the car if they don’t already have an integrated media and entertainment system or a vehicle that supports Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay. Or it could be used with those other systems if people happen to prefer the Car Thing interface.

Since Car Thing already connects to the vehicle via USB, Bluetooth and Aux to stream Spotify from the driver’s phone, it makes sense to let the device work with other phone functions as well.

Spotify says device owners can now see incoming calls and reject or answer them from the Car Thing interface. You can also use the device to play and control other media in the car, and then return to Spotify either through presets, voice commands, or by tapping the screen.

Photo credit: Spotify

Another update will bring the requested Add to Queue feature.

There are a number of ways to use this feature, Spotify noted. Car Thing users can either tap the add to queue icon next to a track in their track list; Use the device dial to highlight the track, then hold to add it to the queue. or use voice commands (e.g. “Hey Spotify, queue [song name]”). Users can also view the queue at any time by saying “Hey Spotify, open my queue” or by holding down the slider in the Now Playing view.

The company also updated Car Thing’s voice commands to allow device owners to request personalized playlists based on mood, genre or activity. Spotify already offers a range of regularly updated personalized playlists in its app, but now users can say things like “Hey Spotify, play cozy Sunday RnB” and the app will generate a playlist based on the user’s request.

Spotify had been working on getting into the device market for some time prior to this year’s public launch of Car Thing.

It started with hardware experiments in 2019 before finally settling on the current design that became the new Car Thing. During this time, the device’s hardware and industrial design evolved from a smaller device that plugged into a car’s cigarette lighter socket to a more consumer-friendly product with a large button, color touchscreen, voice control capabilities, and more. Car Thing has been fairly well received so far. According to Spotify, within a few months of Spotify’s announcement of the product, over 2 million waitlisted consumers signed up to purchase it. How many were sold, however, has not yet been said.

At launch, Spotify said the device would be getting some small software updates soon, including a “night mode” and that “add to queue” voice command, among others, so not all of today’s additions come as a surprise.

The new features are rolling out to Car Thing owners starting today.

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