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Spotify Car Thing now available to buy without invite — here's what it does

Spotify car thing with ryen russilo podcast on screen
(Image credit: Spotify)

Update: Spotify Car Thing has just got a bunch more features, though iPhone owners get the best ones

After two years of being restricted to people who had an invitation to buy it, Spotify's Car Thing is now available to everyone. So long as they're in the United States and pay for a Spotify Premium subscription, that is.

Car Thing is a touchscreen device that can be mounted to your car in a variety of ways. Once there, it connects to your phone using Bluetooth and then acts as a wireless controller of sorts. 

But that's about it — the Car Thing hardware doesn't have a speaker and it can't connect to your car, either. It doesn't handle any music streaming itself because everything is handled via your phone. 

If you want to get audio to stream through your car's speakers, it's your phone that you need to connect to it. Which means you need a Bluetooth or an 3.5mm Aux cable.

Spotify Car Thing

(Image credit: Spotify)

Oh, and you'll pay $89.99 to get a Car Thing of your own. While that seems like a hard sell, it actually does make some sense for those who don't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in their cars. 

The four-inch screen might not be huge, but it's arguably better than stabbing at your phone and it's built to do the job — album artwork is big and hard to miss with a meaty finger, for example. The Car Thing is built to be easier to use while on the go, unlike the Spotify app on your phone.

Don't want to use that finger? Spotify's Car Thing supports voice control, which is a nice touch. Having a dedicated display for your Spotify music also means that you can then use your phone for something more important, like navigational duties for example.

Unfortunately, Spotify isn't saying when — or even if — we can expect Car Thing to go on sale beyond the United States. But it seems likely to happen at some point.