Infotainment platforms are a dime a dozen these days, but Garmin's K2 "glass cockpit" is definitely one system that you're going to want to take seriously. You'll be interacting with a 10.4-inch capacitive touch screen, which is positioned front and center, while a squat 12-inch digital gauge and information readout console is fixed just behind the steering wheel. The system pulls its realtime data from Garmin's servers through your connected smartphone, or, if vehicle manufacturers opt to include it, you may be able to maintain a constant connection by adding a dedicated modem. Then, you'll have access to realtime traffic information, fuel rates at local gas stations, along with email, text messages and other data feeds, including news and sports scores.
As expected, Garmin has taken safety into account -- depending on OEM configurations, you'll likely only be able to operate the center panel while stopped, at which point you can also read and respond to email, send texts, flip through your directory, search for weather, etc. While you're driving, all of those functions shift to a text-to-speech system, which also recognizes commands presented in full sentences. Emails pop up as they're received, with the platform reading messages aloud, if you so choose. You can speak your responses, and a reply will be fired off without any need to direct your attention away from the road.
The system worked very well during our hands-on demo today at CES. Unlike the version that Garmin presented in 2012, this iteration is completely operational, rending detailed 3D graphics and popping up with real POIs in response to actual queries. In other words, the K2 we saw would work perfectly well on the road, though Garmin opted to fix the GPS location in Chicago for the purposes of today's demonstration. There's no set date on when we can expect the platform to make its way to vehicles, and pricing will be set by OEMs, but the version we saw today was installed in a Dodge Durango, and it looked mighty fine there. But don't take our word for it -- you can catch the full hands-on demo just past the break.
Garmin K2 Glass Cockpit hands-onSee all photos