Garmin HUD projects road directions on to your windscreen
Garmin is hoping to make using a satnav safer and has announced a new navigation device, called HUD, that projects directions from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone on to your windscreen - so you don't have to look away from the road to see where you are going next.
The device, which sits on your dashboard, is among the first to ditch the established "sucker cup" method of windscreen attachment, as an increasing number of US states pass legislation banning the use of windscreen-mounted devices - a trend that is thought will catch on at an increased number of locations around the world.
The HUD is compatible with Garmin StreetPilot Onboard (£45) or NAVIGON (£25) navigation apps - for which you'll need a compatible Bluetooth-enabled iPhone, Android phone or Windows Phone 8 to run it, as the HUD itself is nothing more than a display and speaker device. It works by projecting directions and other information on to a transparent film on the windshield or an attached reflector lens on the device itself. An integrated USB port on the vehicle power/adapter cable makes it easy to charge the smartphone while driving.
Garmin says the HUD offers more navigation details than other portable head-up displays, yet presents them in a simplified way that doesn’t divert the driver’s attention from the road. Garmin says the HUD will provide "comprehensive road guidance at a glance and right within the driver’s line of sight", adding that "HUD can help increase safety and reduce driver distraction".
Pocket-lint has already seen an early version of the HUD and we're less convinced. Do drivers really want a £130 plasticky box attachment that needs to be synced to a smartphone with a further £25-45 of additional app expense? The software is being dumbed down to process a simple set of directional commands for this device, which seems backwards. Plus, the range of competitors' software and hardware already out there makes it even more of a big ask. For example something like the TomTom Go 500 is available for under £200 so is only a handful of cash more.
We see what Garmin's trying to do, but at that price point we're just not buying it.