Garmin already makes in-car GPS devices that can be controlled with your voice, so you never have to take your hand off the wheel. Problem is, you’ve gotten used to having Amazon’s Alexa as your digital companion, which makes Garmin’s voice control system feel terribly lacking. If this describes your situation, you may be interested in the Garmin Speak.
A GPS device for your car, the device comes with turn-by-turn directions like similar products from the company with one big difference: it comes with Alexa onboard. That’s right, you can now rely on Alexa to handle all your needs while you make your way to work in the morning, all while using Garmin’s turn-by-turn navigation to make your everyday driving an easier affair.
The Garmin Speak is a small cylinder-shaped object that measures 1.5 x 1.5 inches (diameter x length), making it extremely unobtrusive when mounted on your car’s windshield. It has a small OLED display at the front that shows the turn-by-turn directions, so you can take a quick glance in case you prefer visual cues to voice instructions. To bring up turn-by-turn navigation, simply say, “Alexa, ask Garmin to find this restaurant” and the device takes care of the rest, providing spoken directions with matching visual prompts on the integrated display. Map information is automatically kept up to date with no additional fees or subscriptions, with live updates on traffic conditions and areas of delay easily available via a simple Alexa command.
Equipped with an onboard speaker, the device can provide responses and turn-by-turn directions on its own, freeing up your car speakers for anything else you want to play in it. If you’d rather all the sounds in the car emanate from a single source, though, the device can stream Alexa responses through your car’s stereo system either via Bluetooth or a wired connection. It’s powered, by the way, using a 12-volt microUSB cable, so you’ll need to put up with some wires running across the windshield.
Do note, the Garmin Speak uses your phone’s data to facilitate Alexa’s communication with its servers. As such, enjoying all the benefits of the voice assistant in-car could use up your data further. If that’s not an issue, then you can enjoy all the services Alexa does for you at home, from streaming your music and giving weather updates to reading news briefs and controlling your smart home. Yes, we don’t know why you’ll want to control your smart home while in the car, but if the need for that ever comes up (like if you want to reset the thermostat), it’s definitely available.
With Alexa’s growing roster of skills, the device can also serve as an in-car entertainment hub as much as a navigation tool. From interactive voice-based games and choose-your-own-adventure stories to card games and random jokes, there are literally hundreds and hundreds (maybe thousands) of options to keep everyone in the car entertained. Do note, it requires that you download both the Garmin Speak and Alexa app to your smartphone.