Spotify killing Car Thing shows why you shouldn’t buy hardware from a software company

What you need to know

  • Spotify announced that as of Dec. 9, 2024, it will discontinue the Car Thing and render all existing hardware useless. 
  • The company started selling Car Things in early 2021, ceased production in 2022, and will now brick ever Car Thing out in the wild by the end of 2024.
  • Car Thing is a tethered accessory that depends on a connection to your smartphone, so there is no additional strain on Spotify’s servers by supporting it longer. It’s unclear what Spotify’s motives are for discontinuing the product.

In a surprise move, Spotify announced Thursday, May 23, that it would completely drop support for the Car Thing later this year, bricking every device sold. Car Thing was Spotify’s first hardware product, announced in early 2021. It served as an intermediary between your smartphone and your car, specifically targeted at cars that didn’t have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay Support. The tiny touchscreen device was marketed as a simpler and safer way to play Spotify tunes while driving. 

When the Car Thing debuted, the general consensus was that it was a neat idea without a clear purpose. In fact, in our own Car Thing review, we came to the same conclusion. It had a quality design, simple UI, and voice control — but was it really necessary as more and more cars started shipping with proprietary infotainment systems, Android Auto support, and Apple CarPlay capabilities?

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