Amazon’s Echo Auto is about the size of a business card and about a quarter of an inch thick. It has eight microphones and two buttons, one to mute the microphones and one action button that can call up Alexa.
It connects to your phone via Bluetooth then to the car’s audio system either through Bluetooth or an auxin port.
The Echo Auto ships with a nice vent mount. For those who prefer it lower, this reviewer successfully used 3M Command Strips to attach. Experiment to see where it can best pick up your voice.
The Echo Auto takes about 15 seconds to power up once the car is on.
Just like home-based Echos, you use a trigger word such as “Alexa” then the command. Then there is plenty to use it for: To dial phone calls (you can assign numbers to a name or “my spouse”), to choose music (both on satellite, radio or Prime Music or with some programming, streaming services such as Spotify), add to shopping lists or look up appointments. Also, the Echo will check traffic or weather, by connecting your favorite apps for that information.
Business travelers also use it in their hotels.
Something to watch out for: If you have a home Echo, the handoff between the home version connected to Wi-Fi and the car version connected to your phone can be bumpy.
RASPBERRY PI 4 $35
Computer in the palm of your hand
Raspberry Pi — It sounds delicious, and it is if you are into computering and tinkering. The Pi 4 fits into the palm of your hand. That comes with a trade-off. It doesn’t run Windows or MacOS but instead Raspbian, a variation of the free Linux operating system. The Pi 4 comes in three variations, with the amount of RAM being the only difference. The $35 base model has one gigabyte of RAM. The model with 2 GB of RAM is $45 and 4 GB costs $55. The Pi 4 is an incredible little computer. The small motherboard houses a few connectors — one for a camera module, one for connecting an external touch screen display, one that outputs audio and composite video. There is no onboard storage: You load the operating system onto a microSD card and store your files there. While it does have limited storage and computing power, it can perform many more tasks than you would imagine.