Google Assistant is basically in every possible place, from smart displays to TVs, smartwatches, and of course, phones. But at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, an annual behemoth of a trade show all about technology, Anker and Google have an affordable way to get it in your car.
Introducing the Roav Bolt, a $49.99 smart plug that fits snug into a cigarette lighter. It has two USB ports for charging, an LED light and multiple far-field microphones. Think of this as a high tech car charger for a phone.
The Roav Bolt is surpisingly small for the experience it enables.
This smart charger acts a middle man between the vehicle’s sound system and the Google Assistant on your Android or iOS phone. It will connect to your vehicle over Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable, along with Bluetooth to your phone. You’ll need the Google Assistant app on your device, which is available as a free download.
Once the Roav Bolt is set up, you can say “Hey Google” to ask for directions home, find a local coffee shop, call a friend, send a text and much more. It provides you with the power of a Google Home, which is essentially the power of Google from anywhere. The one caveat is that you’ll need an internet connection, but your phone’s cellular signal will do.
Even better, it is a safer method for using your phone since it’s hands-free. If you have a passenger, or if it’s safe to use your hands while the car is parked, you can tap the small button on the top of the device to use the assistant.
Google’s push at CES 2019 is getting the Assistant on more devices while increasing what it can do. At under $50, this is a super affordable way to make your car smart. The alternative is buying a vehicle that has Android Auto built in, which is an aftermarket install, or a new car purchase.
The Roav Bolt is available for pre-order now at $49.99 and will ship in February. Stay tuned to CNN Underscored for our full thoughts on how the Roav Bolt performs.