Spotify started installing its Car Thing music player into the cars of some Spotify Premium customers a couple of years ago. The aim? To find out more about their listening habits. And now, Spotify has given the device a limited release in the US.
Only Spotify Premium subscribers in the US are eligible, and they have to be invited before they can buy. If you're selected, you only have to pay for shipping, not to cover the cost of the device itself. Spotify is basically giving it away.
Car Thing lets you play Spotify in your car without taking out your phone. You can speak to control it using voice search – just say "Hey Spotify" followed by your request and it'll do the rest. There's also a physical dial that allows you to scroll through menus and select items, or you can use the touchscreen.
There are physical buttons on-hand, too: four presets that you can program to bring up whatever you wish, be it the news, a podcast, radio station or playlist.
Just as it did when it first went public with the Car Thing, Spotify is keen to stress it isn't getting into the music hardware business.
"Our focus remains on becoming the world's number one audio platform – not on creating hardware – but we developed Car Thing because we saw a need from our users, many of whom were missing out on a seamless and personalized in-car listening experience," the firm wrote in a blog post.
"No matter the year or model of your vehicle, we feel everyone should have a superior listening experience."
So, it looks like we're unlikely to see Car Thing arrive in other territories around the world any time soon, but it's hopefully a sign of more interesting things to come in the world of in-car streaming.
More in-car streaming: Sonos teams up with Audi to kit out new electric SUV
And in-car home cinema: Panasonic/Klipsch support in-car Dolby Atmos Music