With the market for dedicated GPS units eroding due to smartphones becoming more adept at navigational tasks, firms who specialised in such units have to diversify. Garmin has announced a new device which aids in user navigation, helping them also keep their eyes on the road and which complements your smartphone navigation capabilities - a portable HUD for your car.
Garmin's HUD sits on your dashboard and projects navigation information onto the windscreen (using a transparent film overlay) or using a flip-up transparent reflector lens built-into the unit. As well as turn-by-turn directions and lane guidance the HUD also offers info on your current speed, the current speed limit, speed camera locations and potential traffic issues. The system doesn't display a detailed map like a dedicated GPS system does. Garmin's HUD also automatically adjusts the display to be readable in daylight and night driving conditions. Spoken navigation prompts can come from your smartphone or via Bluetooth car audio. Another nicety is that the unit offers an integrated USB port to plug and charge your smartphone.
The Garmin HUD could be described as an aftermarket version of the HUDs built into select high-end cars such as the BMW M6 and Lexus HS. Unfortunately there is an additional expense with the Garmin HUD, it works as a navigation device only with Garmin's Navigon (iPhone and Android) or StreetPilot (iPhone and Windows Phone) apps. You have to buy maps for use with these navigational apps, map prices start at $29.99.
Time Magazine points out that the Garmin apps aren't as tightly integrated into phones as Apple Maps or Google Maps for example. Both these smartphone mapping systems can be controlled by voice queries and commands whereas to use Garmin's apps you will have to prod your smartphone screen before setting off.
The new Garmin HUD device, available this summer, will cost you about $129.99. Additionally to make the most of the unit you will need a Garmin StreetPilot and NAVIGON app and map, prices start at $29.99 for a regional map.