Garmin, a major producer of GPS devices, recently unveiled its newest product, the Garmin Speak. The Kansas based company collaborated with Amazon to include Alexa (Amazon's virtual assistant) in the Garmin Speak, creating a GPS device that is both a navigational tool as well as a personal assistant.
Since its introduction three years ago, Amazon Alexa has been integrated into more and more products. This kind of makes sense, since, in order to compete with more popular AI technologies such as Apple's Siri or Google's Assistant (which are both smartphone-based), Amazon must incorporate Alexa into as many devices as possible. Currently, Amazon Alexa is compatible with a variety of third-party products that include certain light bulbs, thermostats, smartphones, and more. With the introduction of the Garmin Speak, Amazon Alexa has also made its way into both the automobile and personal GPS industries. The Garmin Speak is a small and circular GPS device that can be attached to a car's windshield. It measures only 1.5 inches wide and is also Bluetooth enabled, so it can connect to a car's audio system. Basically, the Garmin Speak has a small display that provides users with real-time location, directions, and lane guidance. However, it doesn't have an actual map interface like most GPS units do, instead, the Garmin Speak is an audio-based GPS device in which users must connect to their smartphones (with cellular data enabled) in order for the GPS to work. Once that is done, users are able to take advantage of Amazon Alexa by downloading the Garmin Speak app and Amazon Alexa app on their smartphone. With Alexa incorporated into the Garmin Speak, one is able to simultaneously receive navigation instructions and interact with the virtual assistant. This means that while driving, users can get the latest news and weather updates as well as perform tasks such as calling, ordering food, or remotely controlling home appliances.
The Garmin Speak is intended to allow drivers to be less dependent on their smartphone or other information screens. Even though the GPS does rely on a phone's cellular connection in order to function, it still effectively fulfills its purpose as a convenient hands-free device that minimizes unnecessary distractions. The Garmin Speak is currently available for purchase and comes at a price of $149.