2013 looks to be the year that voice control really becomes part of the mainstream car stereo experience.
Voice control has been around for a while, but it’s now becoming a key component, much like video became part of the car radio back in the late 1990′s.
Texting by voice, searching for music by voice and receiving Facebook updates verbally are now offered by most of the top car audio brands.
JVC, Kenwood, Sony, Alpine and others are also showing off new text to speech, speech to text or other voice features.
A new Alpine radio has a button that lights up to indicate an incoming Facebook message. Press it and the message is read aloud.
Many of JVC’s new CD/radios read aloud your text messages from an Android phone and let you dictate a response.
Two of Kenwood’s new navigation/DVD radios offer a wide range of voice control for searching through music, listening to texts and email and posting to Facebook and Twitter.
Many of Sony’s radios work with ‘App Remote,’ which reads aloud your incoming text messages from an Android phone.
JVC is particularly aggressive in voice control this year. Its 2013 car radios (audio only) with Bluetooth offer verbal texting when used with an Android phone. They also let you search through music by stating the song name or artist, and track up/down. And you can use voice commands to switch functions.
If you don’t want to speak your commands you can gesture them. As last year, some of JVC’s radios let your smartphone act as a remote control, that’s controlled by gestures. And this year, it adds gesture control for volume.
There are four JVC models with the above features, including the KD-X250BT (CD-less deck at $109.95). CD/radios include the KD-R740BT, KD-R840BT, and KD-A845BT price from 139.95 to $189.95.
The JVC radios connect to a smartphone wirelessly over Bluetooth and require you install an app on the phone to access the voice control.