Logitech is on a mission: not only does it want to make the best keyboards and mice in the world, it also wants to keep you safe on the roads. Announced today, the Logi ZeroTouch is a virtual assistant app and magnetic dash mount combo that can turn any vehicle into a connected car for less than $100.
Featuring talk-to-text, voice navigation, location sharing and voice controls for music and hands-free calling, ZeroTouch does exactly what it says on the box: allows you to keep your focus on the road where it belongs with no need to touch your phone. You simply install the free app and attach a magnetic plate to the back of your phone. When you dock your phone the ZeroTouch app is activated automatically.
The app is straightforward, colorful and easy to navigate, with two sections when you first install it: Setup and Learn. Learn takes you through animated demos of the various features of ZeroTouch, including how to send messages and reply, make and receive calls, share your location, listen to unread messages and launch and control apps. ZeroTouch also includes a list of suggested voice commands and an accelerated mode where messages are sent automatically without having to confirm first.
Logitech's ZeroTouch aims to bring the road safety benefits of connected cars to the cars that are already on the road.
Setup of the Logi ZeroTouch is pain-free too. Once you’ve applied the magnet to the back of your phone, the ZeroTouch app will pair with your phone once docked. After a quick couple of reminders, you’re all set to start telling Logi what to do.
Simply “high five” or wave your hand in front of the proximity sensor on the front of your phone to wake the app and speak your commands. Cancelling is as easy as saying “cancel” or “high fiving” again. In my experience the voice recognition is right up there with Google Now.
ZeroTouch gives you plenty of opportunity to customize the way it works too. You can choose your preferred map app and add home and work addresses, pick your favorite messaging app and music service (Spotify and Deezer for now). There’s a choice between Day, Night or Auto Mode for better visibility.
When you’re docked, incoming messages (from WhatsApp, SMS etc) will prompt you to listen or dismiss. Replying to or sending a message from scratch is a simple matter and you can have your unread queue read out all at once. Logitech is currently limiting the number of supported apps because it wants you to do less texting rather than more. Music controls also work a treat.
Not like Google Now
If you’re wondering exactly how Logi ZeroTouch is any different to Siri, Google Now or S Voice, the answer is it isn’t really. But where Google Now, for example, wants to do everything, ZeroTouch is designed simply to keep your attention on the road. So you never have to take your hands off the wheel to do something with your phone (it uses Nuance Voice Control like Siri and S Voice rather than Google’s Voice API).
Logitech knows you’re going to answer messages and play music in the car, so it designed ZeroTouch with the express intention of making those distractions as minimal and safe as possible. With the express goal of road safety in mind, ZeroTouch doesn’t try to tackle everything like Google Now – you won’t be checking on your Amazon delivery status with the app – but just to concentrate on the most common causes of driver distraction.
It’s all about safety
Talking with Patric Frank, Logitech’s senior global marketing manager, it is clear that Logitech is not out to reinvent the wheel, just to do its part to make the roads a safer place to be. Frank tells me that a two-second glance away from the road is considered “safe” but that anything over five seconds is considered “dangerous”. To Logitech’s credit, the average glance duration with its ZeroTouch app is just 0.7 seconds.
The average glance duration with the Logitech ZeroTouch app is just 0.7 seconds.
I doubt Logitech would even mind if you opted for a cheaper car mount and stuck with Google Now or S Voice, just as long as you’re not fumbling with your phone and keeping your eyes off the road. The ZeroTouch mount is an expensive option, to be sure, but it is a very polished and focused product. It tackles the essentials of in-transit functionality without going overboard and makes sure everything is simple, reliable and highly visual so there’s as little to distract your attention as possible.
Availability and pricing
The Logi ZeroTouch mount launches today in the U.S. and Germany (where only 7% of vehicles are connected cars). Logitech’s ZeroTouch aims to bring the road safety benefits of connected cars to the cars that are already on the road in order to increase public safety.
It’s a noble goal to be sure, and one executed with a lot of care and precision, but that price tag might just be a little too high for a lot of people. As far as upgrading to a connected car experience it’s pretty cheap, but as mentioned above, there are plenty of free alternatives.
Logi ZeroTouch works via Bluetooth on devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and above. There is a simple vent mount ($59.99/€59.99) or a dashboard mount ($79.99/€79.99) on offer and Logitech is looking into the possibility of working with an existing bike mount company or developing its own. The app is free to install via the button below, and you can order a mount via Logitech’s website.
Do you have a connected car use a hands-free assistant when driving? What are your thoughts on the Logitech ZeroTouch?