Garmin Monterra brings a slice of Android to your GPS

Garmin has launched the Android-powered Monterra GPS. The Wi-Fi-enabled outdoor handheld GPS combines Android with Garmin's mapping technology.

The Wi-Fi connection allows you to download apps from Google Play, with Garmin hoping developers will build apps specifically for its ruggedised GPS.

“With a 4-inch, colour, multi-touch display, unique 3D MapMerge, and the ability to create new apps, Monterra takes the outdoor GPS to a whole new level, and users are able to take advantage of the features no matter how adverse the terrain may be," said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice-president of worldwide sales.

“Monterra provides outdoor professionals and enthusiasts with the ultimate ability to customise their GPS device to perfectly suit their personal and professional needs.” 

Android apps like Peak Finder can be used with the GPS, as well as other functions such as an FM radio and clever NOAA weather radio alerts. You can receive warnings directly to your location about incoming weather. There is also a built-in speaker, so you don't need headphones to listen to alerts.

Interestingly, Garmin opted to build an 8-megapixel 1080p camera into the Monterra which is able to record GPS co-ordinate tagged images. A specially designed PC app called Garmin Adventures allows you to upload and save pictures to your computer from the unit's 8GB internal memory. MicroSD expansion is there if you fancy snapping more.

Key to the Monterra's GPS functionality is its highly durable LED backlit display that is waterproof and has incredibly high brightness for use outdoors. A clever dual battery system which means the unit can be powered with AA batteries should keep it going for longer.

Expected to go on sale in Q3 this year, the Monterra will start at $649 (£420) with preloaded worldwide basemap. An alternative $699 version comes with 100k's worth of US Navteq road data. UK pricing will be announced soon.