In the battle for in-car automation in Australia it has been largely been fought between Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Amazon has finally shot a salvo in Australia but making it’s Echo Auto device available for pre-order in Australia.
While it’s great to see the third voice platform extend itself into the car in Australia we have to ask with this device, why? Compared to the other two platforms, the Echo’s ability in the car is very limited. With the device, connected via bluetooth and the Alexa app which must be installed on your phone, you can get the Echo Auto to play audible books, control your Alexa devices in your home, add to your shopping list read the news and play music (if those services are integrated into Alexa). And with no screen and no integration into maps you can forget about navigation. Wouldn’t that be the most important feature to have in a smart car device?
Personally we don’t see the point of having this device in your car. On top of the already-mentioned tech tax required for it to work (bluetooth, Alexa app installed) and while it’s a small device it takes a lot of utilities in the car, requiring a 12-volt power and also potentially plugging into your car stereo via 3.5mm aux/headphone jack. It’s a needy little thing for very little payoff.