Sometimes it seems like Amazon is trying to take over the world, and a big part of that plan involves Alexa, the company's digital assistant found in its Echo smart speaker products. Alexa is also found in some third-party gear, the newest of which is a hands-free, turn-by-turn navigation product from Garmin called "Garmin Speak with Amazon Alexa" (just Garmin Speak from here on out).
"Our vision is that the Alexa service will be everywhere our customers want it, including inside the car," said Ned Curic, vice president of automotive at Amazon Alexa. "Alexa on the Garmin Speak can help customers with many things, like controlling their smart home from the road, getting news or traffic, listening to Audiobooks, adding items to a shopping list, and ordering dinner with just their voice."
Therein lies the beauty of having Alexa present in a GPS device—it can do more than just look up directions and tell drivers when to turn. Possessed with the AI assistant, Garmin Speak can fire up music and audiobooks and stream them through a car's stereo, fetch news and weather reports, and even remotely control smart home automation devices such as lights, locks, and thermostats. All while keep a driver's hands on the wheel.
"We are excited to be the first to offer Garmin GPS navigation and Amazon Alexa’s intuitive voice service in the new Garmin Speak," said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. "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."
The Garmin Speak does not look like an ordinary GPS. It bears more resembles to an Echo Dot than a GPS unit, complete with a glowing ring. Garmin Speak is also rather compact, measuring only an 1.5 inches in size, and has an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display showing lane guidance arrows.
Garmin Speak requires the use of a free app. Once synced, it will use the driver's phone data connection to stream Alexa responses, music, and navigation through the vehicle's Bluetooth, or through an AUX cable. Garmin Speak is available now for $150.