This week Amazon had its biggest shopping day ever, with the Dot, the pint-sized version of the company’s Echo, being the best seller of the day. While the device is most commonly used in homes (I have mine sitting in my living room so it can hear me around the apartment) a Business Insider reporter wrote about setting his up in a little bit of a different spot: his car. I’ve actually been using Alexa on the road for roughly the past six months, and have found it really useful, arguably more-so than in my home.
While there absolutely are cars out there with voice control, they aren’t the ones I’m driving. It’s nice to be able to do things like make music requests, ask for the day’s headlines, or add things to your to-do list hands-free (because apparently driving on the freeway is a great way for me to remember things I’ve forgotten). Rather than swapping connected phones to get to my friend’s “perfect” playlist, everyone can make music requests from their seats. For long road trips, trivia and games with Alexa can also help break up the monotony, and I’ve definitely used Alexa to order things I remember I need and know I can get from Amazon while I’m behind the wheel.
If you have a physical house, you can also use it to control smart home gadgets like lights or a garage door opener. The whole experience transforms a “dumb” car into one that feels like a car from the future, even if the actual car is barely functional at this point.
You can check out how that reporter set things up with the Dot here.
While I love the idea of Alexa while I’m driving, I think doing it with a Dot is a little overkill. Ford and Volkswagen have announced plans to bring Alexa to future vehicles, but I’ve been using Logitech’s $30 ZeroTouch smartphone dock and my phone to get pretty much the same effect.
Hardware-wise it’s just a car mount for your phone. There’s a dashboard mount and can air-vent mount. I have the vent one, mostly because I don’t own my own car and like using in rentals. It’s small enough to throw in a pocket or purse, and easily movable between different cars.
The vent version is cheaper than buying the most-discounted Dot and comes with a handful of other really useful hands-free features too. For instance, you can also ask for driving directions or where the closest gas station is, send and receive texts or Facebook and WhatsApp messages, call friends, or dig through your inbox.
It comes with a small metal sticker you put on the back of your phone, which attaches to the mount in the car when you’re ready to use it. Attaching and detaching the phone when you’re driving is as simple as just placing your phone on the mount (which honestly impresses people all on its own). Once connected, Logitech’s hands-free app will auto launch and you’re good to go.
Do you need Alexa in your car? Of course not. But there’s something totally satisfying about ordering groceries at 75mph.
from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2vtZRsY