Talking to a Garmin GPS navigator has already been possible for a few years now, but the company's latest device will allow drivers to ask Amazon's Alexa to stream audiobooks, podcasts and music through the vehicle's sound system, as well as get the navigation system to serve up turn-by-turn directions.
Amazon's cloud-based digital assistant has already branched out from inclusion in the companies own smart speaker to tablets, lighting, smartphones and robot vacs. Now Garmin is taking Alexa for a ride, incorporating the digital assistant in a teeny in-vehicle navigation device.
"The interaction between the two technologies offers drivers a truly unique opportunity to turn their words into actions while keeping both hands on the wheel," said Garmin's Dan Bartel.
The Garmin Speak is 1.5 inches (37 x 37.7 mm) in diameter and weighs just 1.3 oz (37.6 g), it's attached to the windshield using a magnetic mount and is powered via a supplied vehicle cable. Lane guidance is shown on a 0.68 x 0.38 in (17.2 x 9.6 mm) OLED display surrounded by an LED light ring, and spoken turn-by-turn directions are output, too.
Amazon sees the Speak allowing drivers to control smart home devices like lights, locks, and thermostats while on the road, being fed news and traffic updates, adding items to a digital shopping list, ordering take-out, updating a calendar and a host of other tasks available from the Alexa Skills Store. Garmin says that the system can even be used to launch interactive games to keep passengers entertained.
Users will need to download the Garmin Speak Android/iOS app and sync the device in order to use the system. The Speak unit will then use the smartphone data connection to stream Alexa responses, tunes and navigation prompts through the car's audio system over Bluetooth or aux cable. Garmin's Speak can also be used for hands-free calling thanks to Sensory's TrulyHandsfree Alexa trigger.
The Garmin Speak with Amazon Alexa is available now for a suggested retail price of US$149.99, you can see the system in action in the video below.
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