Garmin's portable HUD throws smartphone app directions on the windshield
While many high-end modern cars are now coming with a sophisticated Head-Up-Display (HUD) built in, owners of older (or cheaper) models are stuck with a dedicated navigation device or cradled smartphone blurting out directions and pointing the way. If you're feeling adventurous, you may be able to shoe-horn a retrofit kit into your old jalopy, or you could take the plunge and stump up for a new car, but navigation veteran Garmin has another option. Its new pocket-sized, portable HUD wirelessly connects to a smartphone running a navigation app, and throws directions and useful information onto the inside of the windshield.
The company's first portable Head-up Display for smartphone navigation apps, the imaginatively-named HUD can receive its source information from any Bluetooth-enabled iOS, Android or Windows Phone 8 smartphone running a Navigon or Street Pilot app.
Drivers are promised at-a-glance, easy to follow directions in the line of sight, including turn arrows, lane indicators, distance information, and estimated time of arrival. It can also display the vehicle's current speed, together with the speed limit for the road you're driving down, will alert you to potential delays ahead, and let you know when you're about to hit a safety camera zone.
Users can choose whether to display HUD's information on the included transparent film that sticks to the inside of a windshield, or via the supplied reflector lens that's attached to the device itself. The 7,700 cd/m2 vacuum fluorescent display technology benefits from automatic brightness adjustment for consistently crisp green or red projected information, whether driving in bright sunlight or the dead of night.
Turn-by-turn spoken instructions can be pumped out through a smartphone speaker or through a Bluetooth car stereo, and any music that's being played through the mobile device or car speakers will be faded out before a voice prompt sounds.
The 4.25 x 3.46 x 0.73 inch (10.8 x 8.8 x 1.9 cm), 9.77 oz (277 g) device comes supplied with a power adapter that includes a USB port to top up the smartphone's battery while driving.
The Garmin HUD will be available shortly for US$129.99, but you can add at least another 30 bucks onto that price tag for the necessary smartphone app.
Product page: Garmin HUD
Please keep comments to less than 150 words. No abusive material or spam will be published.
As it stands you can't even tint the glass below the immediate top.
I shudder to think of a future where the windscreen becomes another avenue for an entertainment display. News headline. "Pedestrian run over by car. Driver's view obstructed by pop up advertisement"
"Lets hope Garmins HUD is reliable because a lot of their products are not and their customer support is non-existent.": I respectfully disagree with the customer support comment. :)
"So instead of carrying a GPS, you get to carry something just as large? And it needs tranparent film? Or you can look at a flip-up reflector display? And it needs an app? Really?": I'm not sure why you would be carrying the HUD, as it's meant to rest on the dashboard of your car. It's not even that big ((4.25 x 3.46 x 0.73 inch (10.8 x 8.8 x 1.9 cm), 9.77 oz (277 g)) so it wouldn't be that big of a hassle if you for some reason decided to carry it around with you. More importantly, the HUD is an ACCESSORY to compliment the Garmin/Navigon smart phone applications--it isn't required whatsoever. It's meant to make using these applications a little bit easier by making it so you don't have to look at your phone when routing; the important stuff is displayed right on your dashboard/a small part of your windshield. And as far as you saying "it needs an app", yes, it's an accessory to an app. It's not an accessory for your Nuvi/Dezl/whatnot. If you don't want to buy it, you don't have to buy it. The apps work just fine without it. It's simply an enhancement, so to speak.
Personally, I think it's pretty cool. I'm not saying that I want GPS devices to be displayed all over the windshield (as I agree with the "I shudder to think of a future where the windscreen becomes another avenue for an entertainment display" comment), but this may open some doors to some cool innovations for safer driving. Not having to look down at your phone to see which lane you should be in is pretty sweet. But like any other not-really-necessary accessories, if you don't want it then don't buy it.