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buying Spotify Car Thing's wait-list signups surpass 2 million people (and climbing)

12:45  28 october  2021
12:45  28 october  2021 Source:   cnet.com

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More than 2 million people have signed up on the wait list to buy Spotify's $80 Car Thing, CEO Daniel Ek said Wednesday, suggesting a well of demand for the gadget that makes Spotify easier to navigate in cars, especially those with an older -- or absent -- infotainment system. (For context, Amazon's Echo Auto had more than 1 million preorders, slightly different than a wait list and accumulated over a shorter period of time than Car Thing by a couple months.)

graphical user interface: Spotify's Car Thing has voice, touch and physical dial controls. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by Roadshow Spotify's Car Thing has voice, touch and physical dial controls. Angela Lang/CNET

And yes, you still may have to wait a long time to get one.

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"The No. 1 constraint for us at this particular moment ... is chip shortages," Ek said Wednesday. "We just can't make enough of them to get them out there to consumers."

Spotify launched Car Thing as a free, highly limited release in April, making it available at first only by invitation to a select number of its paid Premium subscribers in the US. When Spotify publicly revealed Car Thing, it kicked off a wait list at carthing.spotify.com. Two weeks ago, Spotify started releasing new Car Things for purchase to people on the list.

Spotify has flirted with the idea of physical products in the past, but Car Thing marked its first legit hardware. Hardware has been on Spotify's radar for years -- Ek once mused about a future with musical lightbulbs -- but the company has remained focused on its streaming-music service, helping it to become the world's largest such, with expectations to hit 400 million listeners globally by the end of the year. The scant track record in hardware, and the fact that Spotify has been referring to its device simply as Car Thing throughout its development, made the product seem like it may amount to nothing more than vaporware.

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Car Thing © Spotify

Car Thing

Car Thing is similar to a touchscreen, voice-enabled tuner that you can mount on your dashboard, except the only things Car Thing helps drivers "tune" are different tracks, podcasts, albums or playlists inside Spotify's library. In addition to allowing you to tap its screen or direct it with voice commands, Car Thing has a large physical dial.

In order to be eligible to come off the wait list and buy Car Thing, you need to be in the US. Car Thing won't work with free accounts, so you need to be a paying Premium subscriber in the US for it to operate, and you need to have a smartphone with a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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