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Spotify Car Thing Billy Steele/Engadget

Spotify is expanding US availability of its Car Thing, an $80 music and podcast player for vehicles. The company debuted the gizmo back in the spring on an invite-only basis and only charged users for shipping during a test phase.

Those who signed up for the Car Thing waitlist before now will get first dibs on the company's first hardware device, though it's still in limited release for now. In addition, both free and Premium Spotify members in the country can now sign up for the waitlist, though the Car Thing requires a Premium subscription and a smartphone for connectivity. Everyone who signs up for the waitlist will eventually be offered a Car Thing.

Spotify worked on Car Thing for several years before it started shipping the device a few months ago. The idea is to bring infotainment features to almost any car, particularly older ones without newfangled touchscreens. Once you hook up Car Thing to your vehicle with the help of one of the included mounts, you can use it to play music and podcasts with either physical controls or "Hey Spotify" voice commands.

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