General Motors and Amazon announced GM will bring the Alexa voice assistant into millions of its cars across Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevy during the first half next year.
Model year 2018 and newer cars will be eligible for an over-the-air update to Alexa via the car’s embedded 4G modem.
At first, GM will offer standard Alexa skills, but it will create custom skills in the future “that are relevant to the customer’s vehicle,” said a GM press release.
Other carmakers already offer or plan to equip some car models with Alexa, including Toyota, BMW, Ford and Audi. But GM says its launch “represents the broadest rollout of an embedded Alexa Auto experience to date…”
Drivers can use voice control to check the news, control smart home devices like lights or thermostats, add items to their shopping cart, and access tens of thousands of Alexa skills.
For the driving experience, GM users can use Alexa for:
- Navigation –Get directions to a specific address or point of interest. Alexa seamlessly integrates with compatible, embedded navigation systems in the vehicle or available OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation using natural language.
- Media – Ask Alexa to play a specific song, artist, genre, or station, as well as audiobooks or podcasts. Alexa can fulfill the request by bringing up available streaming services.
- Calling – Drivers can ask Alexa to place calls using their voice when they pair their phone via Bluetooth and share their contacts with Amazon.
Amazon referenced the GM announcement during its press event today where about 15 new products were introduced.
Customers ask Alexa echo over a billion times a year what time it is, so new the new echo dot will include a clock. The echo dot with clock has an LED display that shines from underneath the cloth speaker wrap. It goes on preorder today at $59.99.
The there’s an all new echo that looks similar to the echo plus released last year. It has neodymium drivers and goes on preorder today at $99, according to the live blog of the Amazon event posted by The Verge.
There’s also a new echo studio, Amazon’s largest speaker, which supports 3D audio and Dolby Atmos. Amazon called it the “most innovative speaker we have ever built.” It tunes the sound to the room automatically. It has three mid-range speakers– left, right and top–and a directional tweeter in the front plus a 5.25-inch bass driver on the bottom with a bass port. Amazon is working with Sony, Universal, and Warner to add more tracks that support 3D audio, said The Verge.
The new echo studio goes on preorder today at $199.
There’s also a new echo show 8 with an HD 8-inch screen at $129, significantly less expensive that Google Home Max.
Echo flex is a tiny echo that plugs directly into a wall outlet. It has a mini speaker and two buttons plus an LED status light. In addition to serving as an Alexa speaker, it has a motion sensor with a night light. Users can plug in devices to charge via its USB port. Preorders start today at $24.99 plus $14 for the night light and motion sensor.
Amazon introduced new features and cameras for the Ring Doorbell and it also announced two future products available now in limited quantities. The first is Amazon eyeglasses called echo frames with tiny directional speakers and microphones. The speakers point the audio toward you but not toward the people around you. You can add prescription lenses. Price is $179.99.
Another limited release product is a ring for your finger called echo loop. It brings your voice agent literally to your fingertips. You get haptic alerts for notifications at $129.99. For a full list of new products see The Verge.