Spotify wants a dedicated spot on your car’s dash

automotive biometrics

Spotify is testing the market for a voice-controlled audio entertainment device for private vehicles.

About the size of a car vent-mounted air freshener (with a color display and physical dial), Spotify’s Car Thing is in limited release for U.S. audio lovers who qualify for service.

The device can be controlled through the dial, via voice commands or touch screen taps and swipes, according to the streaming service. The screen shows what is playing and other content available in a subscriber’s library of songs, podcasts and other content.

Spotify is a client of Sensory Inc., which uses embedded machine learning for natural language processing and voice processing.

A Wi-Fi or mobile data connection link the device to a premium subscriber’s account.

Spotify says its Thing is expected retail for $79.99. But it will be free, minus shipping costs, for the initial rollout.

Only those living in the United States and paying for a recurring subscription to a Spotify premium service — individual, family, student and duo — are eligible for the device. Those who have cancelled such a subscription is not eligible, even if they restart their account.

All those gates guarantee that only Spotify’s most loyal paying customers will qualify.

The limited nature of the offer, along with the purchase restrictions and the name are all clues that Spotify executives have not mortgaged the farm on this product. (The last big product launch involving something called a thing did not last and has aged poorly in the history of marketing.)

Fight for the Future recently raised the alarm on Spotify’s voice biometrics patent that seeks to identify user taste attributes based on audio signals.

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