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Spotify Starts Testing In-Car Hardware

Spotify is carefully taking a first step into the consumer hardware space: The company has begun to test a new in-car device that lets users access music and podcasts with voice commands, it revealed in a blog post Friday morning.

“Car Thing,” as the device is being called for now, is only being tested in the U.S., with a small group of invited premium subscribers. In its blog post, Spotify made sure to point out that it wasn’t about to go crazy with hardware.

“While we know there has been some speculation about our future plans, Car Thing was developed to help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts,” the company said. “Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform — not on creating hardware.”

Spotify didn’t release any specs about the device, but Car Thing seems to be a small audio adapter that connects to the car stereo system via Bluetooth, and streams music and podcasts from Spotify via a nearby phone.

The device has a small screen, as well as multiple buttons, and integrated far-field microphones for voice control. It plugs into a cigarette lighter plug for power.

While Spotify was downplaying its hardware ambitions Friday, it also hinted at plans to explore other form factors. “We might do similar voice-specific tests in the future, so don’t be surprised if you hear about ‘Voice Thing’ and ‘Home Thing,'” the company wrote on its blog.

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