Garmin's Speak puts Alexa-powered navigation in your auto

All images Andrew Liszewski  Gizmodo

Ford and BMW are planning on including Alexa capabilities in future cars, but devices like the Speak will be a more affordable way to add Alexa without buying a new vehicle. It affixes right to your front window and is a little black circle with a blue LED light.

As I navigated Spotify to play music through the Sonos One, Alexa tried to help out with the setup. Actually, when any Amazon Echo hears the Alexa wake word, all of the speakers will shush until you've finished speaking and the Echo (or the Sonos) in control has responded to you.

If you set-up an Echo Dot in a room in your home, you can just say "Alexa, play Stone Roses in my living room", for example, and your living room Sonos speaker will instantly play the chosen music. Allowing you to focus on the road instead of pulling out a phone or tablet. The Speak costs $150 and you can pick one up from Garmin's website. Check out all the bells and whistles over at Garmin. My first complaint: Sonos supports more than 80 music services from within its app: Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, LastFM, and many, many more.

Sonos customers will receive an email containing a unique, one-time-use code for a £25 discount on an Amazon Echo Dot. Also, Alexa's voice will accompany and specify visual indications.

"Our vision is that the Alexa service will be everywhere our customers want it, including inside the vehicle", said Ned Curic, vice president of automotive at Amazon Alexa. Do you like Alexa?

The array of six microphones in the Sonos One speakers were almost as sensitive as in other Amazon Echo devices. As Giles Martin, Sonos Sound Experience Leader says, "light's on, mic's on".

And as you'll be out of the house and range of Wi-Fi, the Garmin Speak will need to be paired with your smartphone so it can get a data connection.

If you want a Sonos One of your own, you can preorder one now on Amazon for $199.99.

Since its introduction three years ago, Amazon Alexa has been integrated into more and more products.

The Sonos One is a great way to upgrade a multiroom audio setup, especially if you already own Sonos devices, and especially if you have yet to make the foray into voice control. Because I did not have to connect my Sonos One to any other devices, my setup was relatively painless, except when it took me several attempts to correctly tune my speaker.

To begin using Garmin Speak with Amazon Alexa, start by downloading the free Garmin Speak app. Thanks to Sensory's TrulyHandsfree Alexa trigger, Garmin Speak offers hands-free phone support, including the ability to ignore or accept incoming calls, so users can stash away their smartphones and keep their hands on the steering wheel.



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