Access Amazon Alexa in Your Car with Muse
【Summary】Muse offers a myriad of hands-free features, thanks to Amazon Alexa’s robust API engine with over 25,000 voice skills.
Most cars with modern infotainment platforms and handheld mobile phones (mounted on the vehicular dashboard) support wireless, voice-activated capabilities. Despite widespread availability, such features are hardly used.
Often times, simple commands have to be repeated. Furthermore, waiting for common phrases to be processed by the platform can get frustrating. In most cases, turning a knob or tapping a touchscreen panel is faster; but also unsafe for drivers on busy roads.
Speak Music, a San Jose-based company, wants to change all that – starting with the Muse.
Compact, Powerful, Affordable
Muse is a compact, Bluetooth-powered gadget for your car. The cutting-edge device provides access to Amazon Alexa and its supported services. Powered by a Qualcom Digital Signal Processor, it is the perfect companion for music lovers and people with active lifestyles. The gadget mounts magnetically on compatible surfaces inside the vehicle (no sticky adhesives).
During operation, the gadget connects to the owner's smartphone, which is used as a hub for processing commands and streaming. Muse is compatible with both Android and iOS mobile platforms. A cellular plan is also required for connectivity.
"Muse is the same price as an Echo Dot, however, and offers all the same Alexa functionality, with a form factor and features designed for the car," said Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch.
"It seems like the best and most affordable way to bring Alexa into your vehicle at the moment, but we'll see how well it performs in the real world when it ships starting in December."
According to the product FAQ, Muse works with a free Amazon account – though to get the most out of the unit, it probably makes sense to be on a Prime subscription. Prime members get free access to Prime Music. The company plans to add support for Spotify and Pandora – for free, in a future update.
Muse offers a myriad of hands-free features, thanks to Amazon Alexa's robust API engine with over 25,000 voice skills. You could check on the weather, stream podcasts and retrieve stock quotes. Moreover, drivers can make hands-free phone calls via the car stereo. The unit contains a noise-cancelling microphone for seamless conversations.
Talking (hands-free) on the phone and listening to loud music can quickly get distracting for drivers, which is why Muse also comes with a master, hardware-level mute function. Pressing the microphone icon on the gadget mutes the microphone and cuts off all audio streaming to the unit. This feature is also particularly useful for rides with multiple passengers.
"So, while you're driving, with your eyes on the road, you can lock your doors at home, close the garage, shut off the coffee pot, adjust your thermostat, and more," explained Elyse Betters from Pocket-lint.
Speak Music is currently conducting a crowdfunding campaign for the final stages of production. Hardware production is ongoing and the company's software team is working on the firmware and companion apps. At the moment, you can get the device for around $50 on Indiegogo (depending on the funding package). The gadget ships with a dual USB charger, 6.5" cable and a mounting kit.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
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