In yet another sign that voice assistants are taking over infotainment, Google has teamed with accessory maker Anker Innovations to deliver the Roav Bolt, a mini “Google Home” that creates a Google Assistant for the car.
This is reportedly Google’s first car accessory.
Sales of smart speakers with voice assistants grew a staggering 800 percent over the last two years. And U.S. households will buy more than 64 million smart speakers in 2022, predicts Parks Associates. The craze migrating to the car. Current “Get a Ford” TV ads feature Alexa-equipped radios as a leading enticement to buy a Ford.
To be clear, Google Assistant is already available with any Android Auto radio, and there’s an app for a smartphone, but the Roav Bolt offers a third alternative, a small device that plugs into a cigarette lighter.
Knowledge is power, so we’re giving you the heads up. Plus Roav Bolt owners who get tired of a device hanging off the dash, may want to step up to an Android Auto car radio.
First announced at CES, and just now shipping, the $50 Roav Bolt has two USB ports along its side for charging a phone and it has an AUX jack to connect to a car radio.
Users can ask it for directions and it will launch Google Maps on their phones and start navigating. It reads texts and launches music through the car’s sound system.
To activate the Bolt you simply say “Hey Google” to wake the device or press a dedicated button.
The device uses far-field built-in microphones to hear your voice, even while music is blasting, said Google.
For now, the Roav Bolt only works with Android phones but an iOS version is due in beta form, said Google.