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Spotify discontinues Car Thing from December 9; offers no refunds

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  • 3 min read

Spotify has announced that its first hardware product, Car Thing, will be discontinued starting December 9, 2024, without trade-ins or refunds. The product was initially launched on an invite-only basis in 2021 and started selling in February 2022.

Car Thing was launched to offer users control over Spotify through car speakers and combined voice and preset buttons for an enhanced in-car music experience. Just five months after the general sale began, the company had already halted production citing product demand and supply chain issues. However, Spotify also slashed prices from $90 to $50 to encourage users to buy the device. These decisions raise questions about the company’s leadership and user-centric approach.

Spotify has no plans to introduce a replacement or a new version of Car Thing and does not offer trade-in options for the device. This decision signifies the company’s focus on software development rather than hardware products.

“As of now, there are no plans to release a replacement or new version of Car Thing,” Spotify said. “No, we are not offering any trade-in options.”

The Car Thing users are demanding Spotify to open-source the product to minimise e-waste.

While this sudden decision to discontinue the product baffled users and experts, the company said it was necessary and part of a broader strategy to streamline its product offerings. In other words, this decision allows it to channel resources into developing new features and improvements in other sectors.

“We’re focusing on creating a superior listening experience for our users, and this necessitates making tough decisions about our product lineup,” Spotify said.

The company also advised customers how to dispose of Car Thing. The device should be reset to factory settings and disposed of according to local electronic waste guidelines. However, the Car Thing community on Reddit is pleading with Spotify to open-source Car Thing. The community even discusses a class action against the company to force it to open-source Car Thing and compensate owners.

Despite Car Thing’s discontinuation, Spotify reassures users that the Spotify app remains fully functional on smartphones and can be connected to a car audio system via Bluetooth or cable.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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