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Amazon Alexa coming to Toyota, Lexus cars

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Old 01-10-18, 10:35 AM
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Default Amazon Alexa coming to Toyota, Lexus cars



A number of carmakers have introduced Amazon Alexa voice commands that can activate the locks and climate control on their cars, but Toyota is going a step further with Alexa integration by bringing Alexa into the car. Starting in 2018, Toyota will join the likes of BMW by offering the full Alexa voice-controlled app in Toyota and Lexus vehicles with either EnTune 3.0 or EnForm 2.0 infotainment systems. Though Toyota doesn't specifically say which models, we suspect the Camry and Sienna will be the first, since they're the only Toyotas with EnTune 3.0. With Lexus, the LC, NX, RC, and LS models all have available EnForm 2.0, so any or all of those could get Alexa this year.

Toyota suggests a number of ways users could use Alexa in the car, such as for taking notes and setting reminders, activating apps, or for controlling other smart devices, such as the heating and cooling on your house. That suggestion rings strongly to those of us in the midst of the bomb-cyclone winter storm. We imagine you'll probably even be able to order goods from Amazon, too.

One thing that is strange is that Toyota has made this leap in connectivity, and yet you still can't get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on any Toyota or Lexus. This is especially odd as it's safe to assume more people own and use Apple and Android products on a daily basis and on the road than Amazon Alexa. Not to mention the fact that almost every other automaker offers both systems on their vehicles.

Either way, mobile Alexa presents some interesting possibilities and is sure to be appealing to fans of the Amazon service. And while only a few models will be available with it in 2018, Toyota and Lexus will expand availability in 2019.
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For what it's worth CarPlay will be coming to Lexus, first on the 2019 ES. Lexus and Apple finalized the deal a few months ago. Android Auto is still up in the air.
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Old 01-10-18, 11:05 AM
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Yep, it's coming and I have no desire whatsoever for Alexa . However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is something that should have been standard eons ago .
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Old 01-10-18, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by SoCalRX View Post
Yep, it's coming and I have no desire whatsoever for Alexa . However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is something that should have been standard eons ago .
Indeed. Having used Android Auto in several rental cars, any vehicle without it is automatically off my shopping list. So at the moment there is zero chance I'll purchase another Lexus to replace our RX. Alexa is a nice to have at best.
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Old 01-10-18, 12:48 PM
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i was able to try out Alexa (home version) a couple times at a family party. It was great for music and changing the song. It was pretty fun yelling out "Alexa! Play Bruno Mars! or "Alexa! Play My Way by Frank Sinatra" or "Alexa! Play My Boo by Ghost Town DJ's". Sometimes, the music was too loud and Alexa didnt hear her name the first time-you would know cause the blue ring wouldnt light up, so you'd find yourself yelling Alexa a couple times haha

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Old 01-10-18, 01:17 PM
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Brilliant move by Amazon to get into cars. Now they can collect more data on you when you leave your house by listening in on your conversations in the car while also allowing "zero click" purchases (voice activated buying) during your daily commute.
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Old 01-10-18, 01:24 PM
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Old 01-10-18, 01:32 PM
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^^LOL!
And it's not just Amazon, Facebook listens to your conversations as well (using the App on the phone).
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Old 01-10-18, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jrmckinley View Post
^^LOL!
And it's not just Amazon, Facebook listens to your conversations as well (using the App on the phone).
I've heard Instagram as well (i know, same same)
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Old 01-10-18, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by geko29 View Post
Indeed. Having used Android Auto in several rental cars, any vehicle without it is automatically off my shopping list. So at the moment there is zero chance I'll purchase another Lexus to replace our RX. Alexa is a nice to have at best.
Same here. Being able to use Waze in my car without a mount is fantastic.
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Old 01-10-18, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Lexus2000 View Post
This is hilarious. Most of the people I know who have Alexa just use it to set timers while they're cooking, though occasionally, it's "Play David Bowie," or something like that. I seriously don't need it in my car.
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Old 01-10-18, 06:30 PM
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Doesn't Toyota already have Siri Eyes Free? What will Alexa do that Siri does not already?

I find it ironic that Toyota would not implement Android Auto (and Apple CarPlay until now) for privacy reasons, yet it will allow the interactive, always-listening, always-online Alexa. Android Auto collects a lot of vehicle and user data, which Toyota did not like. I assume that Toyota and Apple have now negotiated some less data that Apple CarPlay will collect in Toyotas.

Will there be some way to turn off Alexa?
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Old 01-10-18, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by geko29 View Post
Indeed. Having used Android Auto in several rental cars, any vehicle without it is automatically off my shopping list. So at the moment there is zero chance I'll purchase another Lexus to replace our RX. Alexa is a nice to have at best.
yes, agreed. i've only played with android auto briefly, but it and apple carplay are obviously great and yes should be a must have going forward. having alexa too is great but not a replacement for AA and AC.
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Old 01-10-18, 08:44 PM
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Technically the Echo is always listening for the trigger word "Alexa", and it will only save the audio stream that comes after it hears the trigger word. Everything else is discarded. The DSP is actually tuned at the HW level in Echo-like devices, so it is not "always recording" as most people think.

Agree that Carplay/Android Auto would be more useful now, but Amazon has some pretty aggressive plans in the auto space in general.
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Old 01-10-18, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCalRX View Post
Yep, it's coming and I have no desire whatsoever for Alexa . However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is something that should have been standard eons ago .
100% agreed. I can't believe Toyo/Lex still don't offer this

Originally Posted by geko29 View Post
Indeed. Having used Android Auto in several rental cars, any vehicle without it is automatically off my shopping list.
I hate to say it, but same here. We are considering a highlander and i told my wife the first thing i am doing (if we buy it) is swapping the head unit for an aftermarket unit with android auto/carplay.
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Old 01-11-18, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ABC View Post
I hate to say it, but same here. We are considering a highlander and i told my wife the first thing i am doing (if we buy it) is swapping the head unit for an aftermarket unit with android auto/carplay.
just such a hassle though, making sure the steering wheel buttons still work etc. the system match the factory speakers or swapping all those out too, not to mention the expense
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