DVICE TV: Mio Knight Rider GPS is awesome, as clumsy to use as a regular GPS

GPS has made talking cars such an everyday occurrence that it's hard to believe no one's thought of tying the technology to the original talking car — Knight Rider's KITT — until now. The idea people at Mio have been hard at work on a Knight Rider GPS, which they just unveiled this morning, and they were kind enough to give DVICE a hands-on sneak peek yesterday.

Obviously, the navigator's design is inspired by KITT, and that would be the black Trans Am from the original series, not the Mustang from the new show that starts up in September. Besides a gloss-black exterior, it also has a couple of vertical LEDs that light up when it talks, sorta, kinda like KITT's. Pretty cheesy so far, yeah, but it gets better — the voice of the GPS is indeed that of William Daniels, who spoke KITT's turn-by-turn directions to David Hasselhoff in the TV show.

That's all barrels of fun, but is it any good? Hit the Continue jump for our impressions, along with price and availability information.

When the GPS starts up, the screen shows an image KITT's red Cylon-esque LED moving side to side, followed by the verbal prompt, "Michael, where would you like to go today?" The name, of course, is selectable, though there are only about 300 you can choose from. And when you're looking at the map's 3D view, the onscreen icon for your car looks vaguely like a black Trans Am.

Navigation works similarly to other GPSes… which is not praise. Sitting in the front seat, our DVICE cameralad Matt Romano — who owns a GPS — had trouble finding sifting through Mio's icon-based menus to find a simple New York destination. There was also a noticeable delay in response time when too many buttons were touched in a row. Keep in mind, though, that this is a preproduction model, and that the software was incomplete.

So when do production models arrive? That would be in the "August timeframe," and the Knight Rider GPS will go for $270. In the end, we wish it was sophisticated enough to understand speech or at least include Bluetooth (it doesn't) so the conversation wouldn't be so one-sided all the time, but the price is right. Yeah, we still want one.