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Spotify Discontinues Car Thing: What You Need to Know

Spotify Discontinues Car Thing: What You Need to Know

spotify car thing

Introduction

In a surprising move, Spotify has announced that it will discontinue support for its Car Thing device on December 9, 2024. This decision will render all existing Car Thing units inoperable, effectively turning them into electronic waste. This blog post will explore the details of this decision, its implications for users, and the broader impact on consumer electronics.

The Rise and Fall of Car Thing

Introduction to Car Thing

Spotify introduced Car Thing in early 2021 as its first hardware product. The device was designed to provide a dedicated Spotify interface for cars without modern infotainment systems like Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. It featured a small touchscreen, voice control, and a simple UI aimed at making Spotify more accessible and safer to use while driving.

Market Performance

Despite its innovative design and the promise of enhancing the in-car music experience, Car Thing struggled to find a significant user base. It was released to the general public in February 2022, but production was halted just a few months later. The device retailed for $89.99 and received mixed reviews, with many critics questioning its necessity given the prevalence of built-in car infotainment systems​.

Spotify's Decision to Discontinue

Announcement Details

On May 23, 2024, Spotify announced its decision to completely drop support for Car Thing, rendering all devices inoperable by December 9, 2024. This move means that anyone who purchased Car Thing will soon be left with a non-functional piece of hardware.

No Refunds or Trade-Ins

One of the most contentious aspects of this decision is Spotify's refusal to offer refunds, credits, or a trade-in program for Car Thing owners. Users are advised to reset their devices to factory settings and follow local electronic waste disposal guidelines.

Spotify's Justification

Spotify stated that discontinuing Car Thing is part of their efforts to streamline product offerings and focus on new features and enhancements for their broader user base. The company acknowledged that the decision was difficult but necessary to prioritize their resources effectively​.

Implications for Users

User Reactions

Many Car Thing users are understandably upset by this announcement. The lack of a refund or trade-in program has been particularly disappointing, leaving customers feeling abandoned. Some have expressed frustration over the short lifespan of the device, which will have been supported for less than two years by the time it becomes inoperable.

Environmental Concerns

The discontinuation of Car Thing raises significant environmental concerns. With no official recycling program in place, there is a risk that many of these devices will end up in landfills, contributing to electronic waste. This situation highlights the broader issue of sustainability in consumer electronics, where devices often become obsolete quickly, leading to increased waste.

Broader Impact

Lessons for Consumers

Spotify's decision serves as a cautionary tale for consumers about purchasing hardware from companies primarily known for software. This incident underscores the importance of considering the long-term viability and support of hardware products, especially those dependent on ongoing software services​.

Industry Implications

For the tech industry, Spotify's move is a reminder of the challenges associated with entering the hardware market. Companies need to carefully evaluate the demand and longevity of their products to avoid similar pitfalls. Additionally, it emphasizes the need for robust end-of-life plans to manage the environmental impact of discontinued devices.

Conclusion

Spotify's decision to discontinue Car Thing and render all units inoperable has left many users frustrated and concerned about the environmental impact. While the company aims to streamline its offerings and focus on new innovations, this move serves as a critical lesson for both consumers and the tech industry about the challenges and responsibilities associated with hardware products. As the dust settles, it remains to be seen how Spotify will address the backlash and whether it will influence their future endeavors in the hardware space.

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