Last year, Garmin brought Amazon’s Alexa to vehicles with their Garmin Speak, a dashboard mounted device that gives driving directions, plays music, and provides other roadway related information. Now, the Garmin Speak is getting eyes.
Unveiled at CES, the new Speak Plus has the same Alexa voice controlled virtual assistant, but adds a dash cam. The camera automatically records incidents like collisions and provides safety warnings for drivers following too closely to another car or drifting from their lane. Alerts also warn drivers when traffic ahead of them is clearing out (say, at a red light when you’re looking down at your phone).
The Plus can be connected to a smartphone to play music from a personal library, or stream music from Amazon, Pandora, SiriusXM and more. For cars that have the capability, the device can be connected to a vehicle’s audio system via Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable.
An on board OLED screen provides live turn by turn navigation details and information about songs that are playing.
Of course, adding a dashcam is going to raise the price a little. The original Speak had a price tag of about $150, while the new version will retail for $230 ($200 if pre-ordered). And like the Echo enabled devices in many people’s homes, the Garmin Speak also provides traffic and weather updates, lets users create to do lists or add items to a shopping list and control smart home accessories.
Dash cams are getting more and more popular (take a look at our thoughts on the best ones here), and a sub-$250 purchase can easily mean the difference between an insurance company paying a claim or not. While the Garmin Speak doesn’t introduce any new tech entirely (most people use their cell phones now for GPS and music), but combining the two into one device is definitely worth checking out.