Want to seamlessly use Google Assistant in your car, new or old? Then check out the new Roav Bolt by Anker.
It’s a charger that goes into the lighter plug of your vehicle. It features USB ports, two microphones, and works like a tiny Google Home Mini. It's always-listening and can ignore any echo or noise in a car, but it works best via the the aux input (there’s one on the Roav Bolt and a 3.5mm-to-3.5 mm cable included). Once it’s plugged in and set up, say “Hey Google”, and it will listen to your commands.
It even has four LED lights on the top that show when it's in use. It seems like it can do all the usual stuff that Google Assistant already does on a smartphone; you can ask it for directions, have it read notifications or send messages, get an answer to a question, and so on. Roav Bolt gets an internet connection from your phone and works with Android phones, though there's also a beta for iPhone.
It's available now at Best Buy for $49.99. If you don't want to use the aux jack for audio, you can use your phone’s Bluetooth connection, but the Bolt will turn down any audio so it can hear your response, which causes a bit of a delay.
Keep in mind your phone likely already supports “Hey Google” always-listening functionality, and you could just use Android Auto. But Roav Bolt seems like an easier setup with a direct aux line to your vehicle, which is handy if you have an old car without Bluetooth stereo support.
Roav Bolt will be at Walmart and other US retailers like Target soon. An alternative to Anker's device is the JBL Link Drive that debuted at CES.