In brief: Spotify's Car Thing accessory didn't revolutionize listening to music during commutes as intended, prompting the streaming audio giant to quietly discontinue the device over the summer. In hindsight, perhaps Spotify simply marketed it incorrectly?
YouTube channel Work From Home repurposed Car Thing as a desktop music controller and I have to say, it looks right at home in this environment. With it, you'll be able to skip tracks and adjust the volume using buttons and knobs with a tactile feel. There's also a touchscreen for those that like to swipe and a built-in mic for voice commands if you're feeling a bit lazy.
An ambient light sensor helps the display match the brightness of your environment. It'll add a splash of color to your desk that'll no doubt be welcome by those who enjoy album art. Car Thing requires just a single USB cable for power. Where to mount it is up to you, but above your keyboard or on the side of your monitor both seem like great options.
For some, Car Thing will elicit memories of consuming music on standalone devices like the iPod or Microsoft Zune. Personally, it reminds me of the Logitech Z-5500 speaker system or perhaps the quirky NewQ Gold 5.25-inch drive bay equalizer.
As the video highlights, there are some shortcomings you'll want to be aware of beforehand. Because it is official Spotify hardware, it only works with Spotify's streaming service. Apple Music, Napster, Tidal and similar services aren't compatible, nor are local tracks played using Winamp or the like.
While Car Thing can play music from Spotify on your computer, it must have a constant connection to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This is probably a non-issue for most but it is something to be aware of.
Car Play is down to just $29.99 as Spotify looks to move out excess inventory. It's a steal at that price and with no more units in the pipeline, you may want to go ahead and scoop one up if it is of interest.