Spotify “Car Thing” Bricked: Bid Adieu to the Dashboard Device by Dec 9

Terribly named and even more unfortunately handled—Spotify’s “Car Thing” will be bricked in December and users are not expected to get a refund.

We thought reports of the Humane AI Pin performing poorly were going to be the biggest product crash this week, but news of Spotify’s “Car Thing” being bricked takes the cake. The Car Thing gadget has been broken since its launch and discontinued less than a year after its release in February 2022. Designed as a dashboard accessory for your car, the device was meant to make music streaming easier in older cars, giving you a digital display that you could operate without having to pull out your phone. Spotify discontinued production of the Car Thing by the time its Q2 2022 report was out, revealing that they were faced with several issues in its production.

Now that the Spotify Car Thing is being bricked, the devices will cease to work entirely by December 9, 2024.

Image: Spotify’s “Car Thing” is being discontinued and denied the freedom to go open-source.

Spotify Car Thing Bricked, Customers Left at a Dead-End

The Spotify Car Thing was introduced in 2022 and it was an interesting idea for the company’s first foray into selling hardware. The $89.99 USD device was designed to clip onto your dashboard so you had a direct way to play your favorite playlists in your car, especially in older vehicles that didn’t come with their own digital display. It had a small 4-inch touchscreen and a gigantic dial that you could use to scroll. The buttons on the sides allowed for some presets and you could also use voice commands to connect to your Spotify Premium account easily.

Yes, the Premium account was essential for you to use the device. The device came with an array of mounts so it was quite easy to set up, but it relied heavily on your smartphone to connect to the car. It turns out, it was only a display for the app already on your phone—your smartphone had to connect to the car via Bluetooth or an aux cable. The gadget was a very interesting piece of tech that could have evolved into a full-fledged product over time, but on launch, it was very flawed. Putting your phone on a dash stand achieved almost the same effect, which hurt the device in the long run.

Despite ceasing sales and production of the device, the company cut its prices and existing stock was available for those who were still interested. Customers who had already purchased it could still use it without any software support or updates from the company. Now we’re hearing that Spotify has entirely discontinued the Car Thing, which means existing users won’t be able to operate their devices either. The device will become fully inoperable by December 9, 2024.

Spotify “Car Thing” Refunds Are a No Go

With news of the Spotify Car Thing getting bricked, users expressed their annoyance at the company’s unfortunate decision. Even if there are only a few users of the device still out there, asking them to reset their devices and safely dispose of them is a very curt stance to adopt. The company repeatedly encourages users to look into other ways of enjoying Spotify in their car, completely ignoring the fact that those who purchased the device will not be left with a wasted investment.

Users have requested refunds for Spotify’s Car Thing to make up for the device being discontinued so unnecessarily but it does not seem very likely that the company will submit to these demands. Spotify is known for constantly increasing subscription fees and taking features away from users instead of giving them more reasons to invest in their services. Customer care has never been one of their strengths.

Spotify Car Thing: Open Source Alternative?

Instead of making the devices inoperable, many have requested that Spotify make the Car Thing’s software open-source so they could experiment with the device and continue to use it instead of abandoning the device. This would be a much more sensible option instead of Spotify’s Car Thing getting bricked because the technology is not nearly outdated enough to abandon it already. There is sufficient electronic waste out there and adding fully-functioning devices to the pile feels a tad bit excessive. An open-source function to the Spotify Car Thing would permit third-party developers to innovate some uses for the device and the request for this is growing on the Spotify community discussion forum.

Users are considering the option of reverse engineering the device and many have threatened to switch to Apple Music or one of its competitor services if the company doesn’t reverse its decision. The news of Spotify’s Car Thing being bricked may die down over time but it will leave a line of disappointed customers in its wake, unwilling to trust a service by the company ever again.

It’s entirely alright that the company does not plan to bring out a sequel or continue investments in improving the device but Spotify discontinuing the Car Thing is a move that doesn’t sit well with users.

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