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Spotify is bricking its Car Thing gadget and you can't do anything about it

The very least Spotify could've done was to open up the software for tinkering, but here we are.

Published onMay 25, 2024

  • Spotify has discontinued its Car Thing gadget, used for listening to and controlling Spotify in the car.
  • The company is effectively bricking the device and has encouraged owners to “safely” dispose of it.
  • That seems like a waste when the company could’ve opened up the device for tinkering.

Spotify first launched its Car Thing gadget back in 2021, and this was a compact Spotify player with a touchscreen and physical knob. The product had its fans, but Spotify has now decided to discontinue and effectively brick the gadget.

The company sent emails to customers informing them of Car Thing’s discontinuation (h/t: Reddit), but it also updated a support page to confirm more details.

Unfortunately, this discontinuation means Car Thing will no longer work. That means loads of people will have useless gadgets that are basically bricked. Spotify even recommends that people reset the device and then “safely” dispose of it. It also notes that there won’t be any trade-in schemes, such as subscription credit or a refund.

This is an extremely disappointing turn of events for Car Thing owners. The music streaming service could’ve prevented loads of these gadgets from ending up in landfills by opening up the software. This way, people would be able to install alternative operating systems/apps to keep using the device as an in-car audio player or for other purposes.

Spotify has also noted on its support page that there are no plans to release a replacement or a new version of the Car Thing. However, this saga shows that you probably shouldn’t buy any hardware from Spotify in the first place, as the company clearly has no qualms about bricking its devices.

We’ve emailed Spotify to ask why it isn’t opening up the Car Thing’s software for tinkering. We’ll update the article if/when the company gets back to us.

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