Garmin just upped its dashboard game by integrating Amazon Alexa with its DriveSmart 65, the company’s top-of-the-line, voice-controlled navigator. Now drivers can have two digital voice assistants in the same device, with Garmin voice ready to help with travel and Alexa for everything else that Echo smart speakers can do.
The DriveSmart 65 with Amazon Alexa premium edition is Garmin’s most advanced and largest “road-trip ready” navigator with a 6.95-inch diagonal, edge-to-edge, high-resolution display and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for software and map updates. The Alexa-enabled features in the premium edition work in addition to the earlier DriveSmart 65 model’s array of travel and navigation abilities.
Alexa won’t take over the Garmin’s nav features, but you can ask Amazon’s voice assistant to check the news and weather, update your calendar, create to-do lists, and set timers and alarms. Ask Alexa to play songs from your favorite artists from Amazon Music or music subscription services such as Pandora, SiriusXM, and iHeartRadio.
Like your Echo Dots at home, Alexa in the Garmin DriveSmart 65 will tell jokes or stories and play interactive games. With tens of thousands of Alexa Skills, you have a wide range of information and entertainment choices available, all able to utilize the Garmin unit’s audio and display capabilities. In addition, you can use Alexa to control your smart home devices while you are driving.
Garmin will continue to sell the previous top model, the DriveSmart 65 & Traffic, with voice-activated navigation and alternate route suggestions. Both DriveSmart 65 models pair with a smartphone for hands-free calling.
Say, “OK, Garmin” to begin your trip with voice control. Garmin’s “Real Directions” feature gives simple directions based on what you’ll see along the way, such as “Turn right after the red building.”
The DriveSmart 65 also accesses information about historic sites and national parks from the History networks, restaurant and retail information from FourSquare, plus live parking and traffic cameras for many city centers via the Garmin Drive app.
“The integration of Amazon Alexa to our DriveSmart 65 provides a perfect solution for drivers seeking the simplest navigation experience available, with easy turn-by-turn navigation from Garmin and Alexa working as a copilot to answer any questions along your route,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin worldwide vice president of consumer sales. “Customers can ask Alexa to play their favorite music tracks right through their car’s stereo, or even ask for things that can affect their drive like weather conditions.”
The Garmin DriveSmart 65 with Amazon Alexa is on the Garmin website now with estimate availability in two to three weeks. The new model will sell for $300. The existing Garmin DriveSmart 65 & Traffic retails for $270.