Final month Amazon and BMW introduced a partnership that places Alexa-enabled voice navigation and help proper in new BMWs—however you don’t want to attend till 2018 and purchase a brand new premium experience to take pleasure in the identical expertise proper now.
Whereas BMW could be the primary automaker to instantly incorporate Alexa into their vehicles, you possibly can beat them to the punch with the Garmin Speak—a $150 gadget that mixes Alexa and Garmin navigation in a mini Echo-Dot-like kind issue.
What will we like about it? In the event you’ve already invested closely within the Amazon/Alexa ecosystem it’s a good way to get straightforward Alexa entry in your automotive with out messing round with a clunky resolution like mounting an Echo Dot to your sprint board and fussing with further configuration steps.
Additional, not solely do you get the Alexa expertise for issues like music playback however you even have entry to the identical sensible dwelling instructions you’ve at dwelling—which suggests once you pull within the driveway you possibly can inform Alexa to show in your sensible dwelling lights or modify the thermostat earlier than you even get out of the automotive.
What are we not so impressed by? $150 appears somewhat steep when you think about extra conventional GPS unit from Garmin with an precise full dimension display screen prices about the identical quantity. Additional, the entire setup depends fully on a Bluetooth connection to your cellphone and your cellphone’s knowledge plan.
In the event you’re already relying in your cellphone that closely anyway, why not simply mount the cellphone as an alternative and use it as your navigation resolution? In addition the included charger takes up a complete 12v energy port in your automotive however doesn’t have USB charging cross by. Both it’s a must to sacrifice the port or purchase your personal high quality charger plus the expense of an extended USB charging cable for the Garmin.
Until you’re significantly invested within the Alexa system and want that candy, candy, Alexa integration in your experience, it’s best to most likely think about holding off to see what future refinements are within the pipeline for Alexa/automotive integration options.