Don’t install AOSP on it though
Spotify’s Car Thing is (or was) a quirky device. It’s a dash-mounted device that allows you to easily control your streaming experience while you’re cruising, but that’s separate from your existing head unit and was, at least in the beginning, a hefty $90 price tag. , making it a difficult purchase for many people. It’s cheaper than ever these days as supplies dwindle, but the great thing about it is that it’s surprisingly customizable. And it’s even worse now because someone found a way to unlock the Car Thing bootloader.
In particular, a Nolen Johnson has managed to unlock Spotify Car Thing, which runs a funky Android fork, thanks to a newly surfaced exploit that allows root access and ADB on the device and potentially opens the door for other mods including alternative firmware. The mod itself is pretty messy and it’s certainly not like unlocking another Android device, but it’s doable nonetheless.
All you need is a Car Thing, a USB cable and a 64-bit Linux PC with libusb-dev installed. Oh, two parts guts, one part white.
The fact that this weird device is unlockable and thus modable is pretty cool to see, as buyers will logically want to keep it alive for as long as they can, after when official support goes down.
Whether you can install full-fledged Android on it, however, is unlikely, at least for modern Android. The device is equipped with only ~500MB of RAM, which has not been an acceptable amount for Android machines since 2013 – and while the minimum RAM spec for the lightweight Android 10 Go edition is technically coupled with 512MB, dual memory devices are also not that lighthearted to deal with. For the Android 13 Go edition, Google requires phone makers to have at least 2 GB of RAM.
That said, this development will likely open the doors for other mods and we’re certainly excited to see what can be done with the Car Thing in the coming months.