Spotify’s Baffling Automotive Factor Can Now Do Extra Issues



A photo of the Spotify Car Thing mounted in a car's air vent

Spotify’s Automotive Factor is a neat trick, nevertheless it wants extra performance earlier than it’s important.
Picture: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Spotify introduced immediately that it’s pushing via a bundle of latest options to the Automotive Factor, its borderline-useless in-car accent that goes for $90. Whereas the gadget is meant to assist enlarge the Spotify controls to place them entrance and heart when you’re behind the wheel—however in apply, it provides little utility over a smartphone even with this newest software program replace. 

The gadget has a display screen about half the dimensions of your smartphone and includes a large quantity knob with a clicky sound harking back to an outdated iPod. That’s it. So in case you’re somebody who purchased considered one of these from Spotify, the addition of latest options needs to be a welcome shock.

This newest replace provides extra car-specific performance, although it’s nonetheless not sufficient. It means that you can reply telephone calls and management different media immediately from the gadget. Sadly, these two options are rolling out solely to iOS customers—Android customers who’ve purchased into this accent are out of luck for now.

I attempted the Automotive Factor’s phone-calling function with an iPhone 13 Professional. After I obtained a name, the interface took over the entire display screen of Automotive Factor so I may reply with a faucet. Nonetheless, you continue to must paw on the display screen to do anything, which feels just like the antithesis of what try to be doing as you’re behind the wheel.

A photo of the phone call interface on the Spotify Car Thing

I’m calling myself on the Spotify Automotive Factor.
Picture: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

After I initially reviewed the Automotive Factor, I favored the {hardware} and the enlarged Spotify UI, although it didn’t remedy all my issues of controlling music within the automobile. Unsurprisingly, it solely labored with Spotify. Right this moment’s tweaks add the power to manage media inside some rival apps, but I couldn’t get the function to sprout up. I performed media via Pocketcasts and Apple Music on the iPhone, however the Automotive Factor didn’t reply. Each time I touched the gadget to pick out a management, it will revert playback to Spotify. On the very least, once I was taking part in the opposite media, I may nonetheless use the quantity knob to show it up or down. However as I discussed once I initially went hands-on with the Automotive Factor, the quantity knob isn’t significantly useful if tethered to the automobile stereo by way of AUX because it solely controls the quantity output in your telephone and never the automobile audio system. I’m following up with Spotify to determine what’s occurring.

I did recognize the brand new means to queue up songs and podcasts, which can be found to each iPhone and Android customers. Look for a similar “add to queue” button you’d faucet on the Spotify app to fit it into your present tracklist. The amount knob additionally helps you to press and maintain so as to add a monitor to the queue, although populating it this manner appears sophisticated to juggle in case you’re driving along with your different hand. That’s whenever you’d flip right into a voice command. You possibly can say, “Hey Spotify, open my queue” to see what’s subsequent, after which use the dial to clean via. If you happen to ask so as to add a tune to the tracklist, be sure you understand it by identify.

A photo of the Gadgettes podcast queue on the Spotify Car Thing

Queue up the subsequent episode of Gadgettes in your Spotify Automotive Factor.
Picture: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

You possibly can add a podcast to your queue in case you really feel like peppering in a little bit of speaking between songs. However needless to say the voice command for including podcasts by identify isn’t obtainable but. I attempted the newest episode of Gadgettes to my queue, and the interface alerted me that it wasn’t but potential, although I may add it via a guide search.

Admittedly, after writing about my expertise with it, I shoved the Spotify Automotive Factor again into my devices closet and reverted to the outdated means of taking part in music in my automobile. I introduced it out to attempt the brand new options, however they’re nonetheless not compelling sufficient for me to swap out my perfectly-fine phone-only resolution for navigating and listening to music throughout a drive. Once more, I’d encourage you to not spend the money on this gadget.