BMW announced last week that all BMWs and MINI models will get Alexa voice control starting mid next year.
Tens of thousands of Alexa services (called skills) will be available from the car, including apparently, shopping while driving.
Until now BMW owners could connect to Alexa via the BMW Connected app for limited services such as checking fuel or charge levels from the comfort of their home. But starting next year, drivers may use Alexa while in the car itself. And they won’t need a cellphone as all BMW models and select MINI models will come with a built-in SIM card.
“Voice control first featured in BMW Group cars many years ago, and we are now enhancing its functionality by adding a digital ecosystem, which will open up all sorts of new possibilities that customers can access quickly, easily and safely from their car,” said BMW’s Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Services and Business Models.
The announcement came at the same time that Amazon unveiled several new Alexa home devices including the Amazon Spot– a lower cost Amazon Show with a 2.5-inch screen and alarm clock functions that ships in December at $129. A new updated Echo received a HiFi makeover and includes a 2.5-inch woofer and dedicated tweeter with Dolby Digital audio. And is has a new far-field microphone array. It’s a bit shorter than the original and available now at $99
In what has become a family of Echo products, there is also a new Echo Plus smart home hub that claims to be easy to set up, available now at $149. “Out of the box smart bulbs will automatically go into discovery mode while you install them. Alexa will automatically name the devices with a simple naming convention: the first one you set up will be called “first light” that can later be changed to something more meaningful. There are no apps or skills needed to install on the device, it just works with 100 devices available at launch,” said Forbes.
Amazon also launched new Echo buttons and Echo Connect. See Forbes for an overview here.
If that’s not tech overload Google is due to announce today new Google Home devices, as well as as pixel smartphones.
Source: BMW Blog