While Spotify’s Car Thing device isn’t exactly pointless, it certainly has a narrow use case as we detailed in our recent review. Now, Spotify Car Thing is picking up its first major update with the ability to answer phone calls, control other apps, and more.

Rolling out now, this new update for Spotify Car Thing is adding four key new features, most notably with the ability to answer incoming phone calls on your device. Outside of any form of navigation, the ability to see incoming calls on Car Thing has been one of the biggest glaring flaws of the Spotify device. As pictured below, incoming calls will show the contact’s name and phone number, as well as touch targets to answer or reject the call.

Meanwhile, Spotify is also allowing the device to gain control over other media apps, beyond just Spotify. If you use background play on a video from YouTube, or perhaps a podcast from Pocketcasts or Google Podcasts, Spotify Car Thing will now be able to control that playback on its “Now Playing” screen.

Rounding out the update, the device is adding an “add to queue” button on songs/albums on the touchscreen, as well as with a long-press of the dial and a new voice command too. Personalized playlists are also being added to Car Thing. The full changelog follows:

  • Answer phone calls seamlessly*: You can now see, answer, and dismiss incoming calls via Car Thing. 
  • Control other media*: You can now play and control other media on the Car Thing device. Easily switch back to Spotify by using presets, or voice, or simply tapping the screen.
  • Add to queue: One of our most requested features—the ability to queue additional songs and podcasts—is also now available. You can access it in a few different ways:
    • With touch: Tap the “Add to queue” icon next to a track in your tracklist. 
    • With the dial: When you have a track highlighted, press and keep holding the dial—one press will play, while pressing and holding will add to the queue. 
    • Request music with Voice: Just say “Hey Spotify, queue ‘drivers license’” or whatever track you’d like to listen to next! 
    • View your queue: Say “Hey Spotify, open my queue” or press and keep holding the dial when in the “Now Playing” view. 
  • Use voice to get a personalized playlist for any mood: Simply ask for any genre, mood, or activity that describes the kind of music you want to hear. For example, say “Hey Spotify, play cozy Sunday RnB,” and we’ll do our best to instantly create a personalized playlist from your request. This feature is available wherever “Hey Spotify” is available.

Spotify says the update is rolling out now to Car Things owners paired to iPhone, but the update won’t be available until a “later date” for those paired to Android devices… for some reason.

You can read our full review of Car Thing here.

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Ben Schoon

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