If you’re bored by the impersonal voices of your GPS in-car navigation system, there’s a new product for you. TomTom has released an add-on feature to its systems which will replace the default voices with that of Homer Simpson.
The voice doesn’t simply read out directions, but adds extra commentary, with one example being “Take the third right. We might find an ice cream truck! Mmm…ice cream.” Users are apparently guaranteed an “unforgettable journey”, which isn’t necessarily a great thing.
The feature costs $12.95 in the US and £7.95 in the UK and can be bought at http://www.tomtom.com/page/simpsons, which also includes audio samples.
Of course, a celebrity voice for a GPS system is hardly a new idea: a survey in Britain last year found the most popular voices from rival companies were Mr. T, John Cleese, and the comedy characters of Matt Lucas. However, while many celebrity voices are unlicensed soundalikes, the TomTom product really is the voice of Homer Simpson – or rather actor Dan Castellanata.
Meanwhile, if you want to see a joke stretched to – and arguably past – its logical conclusion, check out T3’s list of 50 possible celebrity voices and the phrases they’d use. (I’d throw in former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Not as an endorsement of her political views, but rather for the fact that she’s already got a natural sample in her infamous speech noting “You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”)
So readers: Have you ever used a celebrity voice for your Sat Nav? And if so, how long did the novelty last, and did it genuinely improve your driving experience?