In brief: Well, that didn’t take long. Roughly five months after making its voice-controlled smart player for vehicles available to the general public, Spotify has quietly discontinued the device. If you still want one, it’s on sale at a substantial discount while supplies last.
Spotify started testing a voice-controlled device for cars back in 2019. Dubbed Car Thing, it was initially only available to a small group of invited Spotify Premium members in the US. The device represented Spotify’s first foray into hardware although the company insisted it was more about learning how people listen to music and podcasts in their vehicles than an indication of a move into hardware.
A broader – yet still limited – rollout commenced in 2021 and this past February, Spotify made Car Thing a proper consumer device available to anyone (albeit with a $10 price hike).
In its latest earnings report published on July 27, Spotify quietly said its reported gross margin was negatively impacted by their decision to stop manufacturing Car Thing. Spotify recorded a one-time charge of €31 million ($31.4 million) associated with ending manufacturing.
A Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch that a number of factors including product demand and supply chain issues contributed to their decision to halt production. Existing devices will continue to function normally, the person said, adding that the initiative unlocked helpful learnings [about listening habits in vehicles].
Curiously enough, Spotify is still offering Car Thing on its website at a deep discount. Normally $89.99, the gadget is on sale for $49.99 as part of Spotify’s liquidation sale.