GPS navigation and mapping company Garmin, which has had a lot of success selling navigation devices to cyclists, has announced a portable head-up display device for smartphone navigation apps that it says can be displayed on the windscreen of any car.
Called HUD – apparently standing for head-up display (and quite unrelated to the brash, self-centred Paul Newman character but we couldn’t resist the iconic picture) – it will be available in coming months, said the company, incorporated in Switzerland, but headquartered in Kansas.
HUD projects directions from a smartphone to a transparent film on the windshield of a car, or onto a reflector lens attached to a HUD device. The device pairs wirelessly via Bluetooth to iPhones, Android phones or models running Windows Phone 8.
In North America, HUD will sell for US$130, but users will also need to shell out for mapping apps for individual countries.
“HUD redefines the navigation experience by allowing drivers to find their way without taking their eyes off the road,” claimed Dan Bartel, VP of worldwide sales.
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He adds that head-up displays currently have their place in some high-end vehicles – not to mention fighter aircraft – but claims HUD “makes similar technology available for any vehicle at an affordable price”. The Garmin HUD works over Bluetooth, which means that in addition to Android, it will also be compatible with other smartphones, including the iPhone and Windows Phone.
The unit is said to be “easy to set up” and will offer users the option to choose between having the information displayed on a transparent film on the windshield or the included reflector that attaches directly to the HUD.
The Garmin HUD also has a USB port that allows users to keep smartphones charged while in the car. The unit also ships with a cable to do just that. By way of the supported apps, the HUD will display information, including lane guidance, speed limit warnings, real-time traffic and more. The unit will also allow for audible turn-by-turn directions by way of the smartphone speaker, or the car speakers.
Additionally, any music that is being streamed to the car stereo will fade out when the voice guidance comes in. The unit will also continue to display navigation details during any incoming calls.