Skip to content

Anker puts Alexa in the car with Roav Viva, but it's not worth the time

Anker's mobile division, Roav, today announces an embedded Alexa device. Called Viva, the device plugs into a 12-volt cigarette lighter and turns Alexa into a co-pilot. After using it for a 4 hour trip on the road, however, I found the device adequate but left much to be desired. On the one hand, it does not support Spotify and sometimes it requires the user to interact with the smartphone while driving.

The installation is easy but takes a few steps. The user must plug the device into the vehicle and pair it with a smartphone. The smartphone must also be associated with the Bluetooth connection of the vehicle. The intelligent system broadcasts the Viva's audio to the vehicle via this link while the smartphone also broadcasts other content.

In practice, the Viva works well if its limits are understood. Do not tell it to turn on Spotify. It does not work. If instructions are required, precise phrasing must be used and in some cases the driver will have to use his smartphone. And since it is a complementary unit, it has no control over embedded systems.

The Viva has a bare-bones version of Alexa and it shows.

I am not convinced that Viva is a necessary gadget. It does not do anything much better than Siri or Google Assistant. And since the Viva depends on a smartphone, there is a good chance that users already have a device equipped with one of the other voice assistants.

The Viva will cost $ 49.99 when it comes out early 2018. It's new, but I'm afraid most units quickly lose their appeal and end up being forgotten in a glove box.

See also  Facebook has launched new privacy tools. What about Twitter and Snapchat?