We anticipated that – like last year – CES 2019 would feature a lot of voice assistant news. So far, what we’ve seen has been minimal, and most of it has been iterative.
Today’s announcement from JBL is somewhat exciting – Google Assistant for your car! Any car!
The JBL Link Drive plugs into your 12V accessory port in your car and provides you with Google Assistant on the go. Simply:
- Plug the device into your accessory port
- Pair it with either an Android or Apple device
- Connect it to your stereo via Bluetooth 4.2 or a 3.5mm headset jack
Just like that, you’re ready to enjoy Google Assistant in your car!
Unlike some of the Google Mini Hacks I’ve seen for getting Google Assistant in your car, the JBL Link Drive includes voice calls as a standard feature along with automatic re-pairing to your phone (for data and phone support). The JBL Link Drive also features dual noise-cancelling microphones with active noise filtering for maximum clarity. My favourite feature? Radio Barging technology to quieten the radio when you’re using OK Google.
Other features include a multi-function button for manually triggering Assistant or shutting down the microphones, a 2.1 Amp charging port and multi-phone memory to support multiple drivers (and their phones!)
It’s unclear how this would work with Android Auto running on your phone – if it pairs well I could imagine this being a fantastic feature. For those with older cars the inclusion of a 3.5mm jack really extends the utility of the device.
The JBL Link Drive is due for release in the USA in the northern Spring for $59.95 (or around $87.55 AUD). We’ve asked JBL if the Link Road is coming to the Australian market – as yet, we’ve not had confirmation of pricing or timing.
As the owner of several JBL Link Views, I’m more than a little interested in the Link Road. JBL has proven they know how to make a great Assistant Device.