Sunday, March 18, 2012

UPDATED: Garmin HUD+ and mystery smartphone app

Garmin HUD+ and companion smartphone app

The Garmin HUD+ and companion smartphone app

UPDATE: Here’s the HUD+ product page and more info on the app.

UPDATE 2: The Android and Windows apps do not have a nuvi-like interface.

This is probably the strangest Garmin announcement of the day, so I’m just going to quote the entire HUD+ section of the news release before I delve into what it means…

HUD+ with New Companion Smartphone App

HUD+ combines Garmin’s popular portable head-up display with a new, free companion smartphone app. HUD+ projects crisp and bright directions onto a transparent film on the windshield or an attached reflector lens. It receives navigation information from a Bluetooth®-connected smartphone running the free Garmin HUD navigation app, available from the App Store, Google Play, or Windows Phone Store. By providing comprehensive road guidance at a glance and right within the driver’s line of sight, HUD+ can help increase safety and reduce driver distraction. HUD+ has a suggested retail price of $179.99.

I’m not 100% sure what to make of this, but it seems pretty clear that you buy the Garmin HUD+ and the navigation app is free. And the photo above sure looks like a traditional nuvi interface, complete with the map and everything. So you can finally have Garmin nuvi-like navigation on your Android phone, right? And other platforms too, of course. But I am betting that the free app doesn’t work unless you pair it with the HUD+. Maybe that’s one of the “Extras,” allowing you to unlock the app.

An HUD strategy?

While I don’t like the idea of paying $180 to be able to access a Garmin navigation app, I can see where Garmin might be heading with this: Namely, to be  a leader in HUD technology, with new hardware coming every year or two, as they figure out safe ways to provide more and better information on a heads up display.

What do you make of all this?

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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