Garmin releases unique HUD app on Windows Phone for their in-dash hardware

Back in July, the popular navigation service provider Garmin released their Head-Up Display (HUD) Dashboard Mounted Windshield Projector. The extra hardware costs around $120, which can add a serious dent to your navigation budget. On the other hand, you can relive ‘Top Gun’ memories by pretending your sedan is really a Grumman F-14 Tomcat. At least that’s my hope.

HUD technology is often found in luxury cars these days, so if you drive a Mercedes this is probably redundant. If not, the device works by projecting navigation information right onto your windshield (you stick a little translucent sticker to your window for higher visibility). Information displayed includes speed, traffic and safety camera alerts, current and max speed limits, ETA to destination, Lane Assist and distance to next turn. The idea is simple: keep your eyes in front of you, on the road, at all times.

Garmin's HUD accessory

This week, Garmin released their official HUD app for Windows Phone. For all intents and purposes, it looks exactly like their Navigon app (one of our top navigation apps for Windows Phone). It’s interesting because Navigon does support the HUD hardware directly—but it also costs money. This HUD app is free. Why is that? It looks like Garmin is saying ‘Hey, you just dropped $120 on our hardware, here is a free navigation app to go with it’. But if you already have paid for Navigon, well, you’re all set too.

The HUD app though is missing a few features that can ‘upgraded’ via an in-app purchase. That includes

  • Traffic Live - Live traffic updates and alerts
  • Sound & 3D - Voice guidance with spoken street names and Panorama View 3D

We haven’t checked what those IAPs cost, but we imagine it is far below the cost of Navigon ($30 for the US version, which is actually on sale right now). So what do you get with the free HUD app (which ONLY works when paired to the HUD hardware)?

  • Voice-guided turn-by-turn directions
  • Millions of preloaded points of interest including gas stations, restaurants and other businesses
  • Maps install to your device, so wireless coverage isn’t required
  • Includes free map updates (one map update per year)
  • Active lane assistant
  • Reality View Pro
  • MyRoutes calculates up to three routes in parallel
  • Integrated red light and speed camera database
  • Knows your current speed and posted speed limit (for most major roads)
  • Current and forecasted weather conditions at destination

That actually is the meat of Navigon, and if you dropped $120 on their hardware, that’s a fairly solid offering. The app does require 1.1 GB of free space for all of the maps, which can’t be installed to a micro SD card due to OS restrictions. Once paired though to the hardware, the app will function independently for up to 30 days without the HUD device, which is kind of awesome. If you already have Navigon, including the 'Fresh Maps' upgrade and other items, the HUD hardware should still work with no issues.

We just ordered up the HUD hardware ourselves to test out with both apps, so we’ll try to do a follow up next week, in case you have any questions. Map data (provided by HERE) only covers United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands.

For now, if you have the Garmin Head-Up Display (HUD) Dashboard Mounted Windshield Projector, or if you’re thinking of getting one, you can pick up the HUD software here in the Store

Want to check out the HUD hardware? Grab it from Amazon for $120 (Prime eligible): (opens in new tab)

Thanks, Brian M., for the…heads up (ha!)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • For those curious, I use Navigon as my default navigation app. I even have the Fresh Maps and Panorama IAPs I like it so much. While I don't find it as aesthetically pleasing as CoPilot or Scout, I find it highly reliable and accurate. Although HERE Drive is solid (and getting better), it just pales in features compared to Navigon. That's the way it should be though, as I expect third-parties to try to harder to win over converts. I prefer Navigon due to the three trip options, lane assist, camera alerts, accurate live traffic data and rich dashboard information (including 'mute').
  • I'm just like you Daniel. Well, not recently since I don't have a car anymore, but I used to drive a lot with the need of a solid GPS. I purchased the Navigon App thanks to the good reviews since it couldn't really be tried... And I never regretted my purchase ! It's faster than Here Maps when re-calculating route, it's far more reliable in terms of direction and even TTS (at least in French), Fresh Maps are cool even in areas where there was a lot of speed limit change, it's updated fairly often. And they upgraded their app like not many devs, they really listened to the community and fixed everything that needed to be : App running in the background, battery saving, so on and so forth. So yeah, for anyone doubting the Navigon App or product in general are too expensive : You won't regret buying them.
  • I have the Navigon app too but had to switch back to Here Drive. I believe the Navigon app stops giving turn by turn if you bring any other app in the foreground on your screen (think as using XBox Music while driving somewhere and getting directions).   Please correct me unless there is setting somewhere that I am not aware of. Here Drive can give turn-by-turn even if another app is in foreground on your screen.
  • You're right, even tho while driving it shouldn't really be an issue since you shouldn't really be using your phone while driving ! I always used Xbox Music while driving since my phone was connected via bluetooth to my car sound system, and the only time I touched the screen was when I need to change a song by pressing the volume key and then the button on the top of the screen. But I was also unaware that Here Maps was able to do that, I might be wrong but I don't think it was the case a year ago, wasn't it ?  
  • I agree I love the Navigon app. Definitely the best out there right now.
  • I'm looking forward to your in-car video review of the hardware and the new software.
  • If the European version was not so expensive, I would have got it when I was in europe the past summer, but at that price I will stick with HERE Drive+ and hope Nokia brings the advanced features to the table soon.
  • It's definitely pricey, so it depends on how much you use it to justify it. However, they do often run sales (and we try to highlight them), so that's the best time to jump in.
  • Same here. Been using Navigon since WP7. They were like the first real mapping solution at a time when Bing maps wouldn't even give you turn by turn directions... Fun times lol
  • Doesn't have background navigation though does it? That's kind of annoying.
  • I have been using the navigon app since its release, its the best navigation app(tried all other apps like copilot, gps voice naviation, gmaps pro) nothing beats navigon. but did you notice that if you search for places using google search in their app, its showing "Service no longer available". is it a temporary or permanent? One of the main reasons i like this app very much is to find addesses by doing google search. If google stopped providing service, they should have provided bing as alternative.
  • I also use Navigon almost exclusively. Herr maps is okay, but Navigon has more features i find useful when traveling. Does HUD require you to gave purchased Freshmaps to have the current maps? I've held off on purchasing through the navigon app because its working okay at the moment, but I feel like I need to buy some soon. Also, noticed something funky in the Navigon app today. It says the Google local search option is no longer supported by Google. Perhaps time to switch to Bing?
  • The HUD was my birthday present to myself this year.  Dan, I'm around the same area as you are in most cases (most days I'm on the 135 Jericho or somewhere on 110).  The one thing I will say is that the traffic rerouting can go ABSOLUTELY nuts when you're on the southern state. It's really damn annoying from time to time.  That and it seems like the firmware update for the HUD never really installs properly. Here maps is prettier but you can't make a multiple stop route like you can in Navigon.  
  • if they had the HUD on a temporary fire sale, that'd be great. It's hard to take the bait when Nokia shoves Here Drive+ + Free as free beer down your throat. Garmin have to make pple try it and $120 isn't the way to do that. $99 or $89 could be a starting point. yeah..sure $20 diff is not a lot but for alot of pple, it is.
  • Question: If the app requires Bluetooth to connect to the projector, can my phone be connected to the car's Bluetooth system simultaneously?
  • Yes, I have mine connected to the HUD and car at the same time, both work fine. Most annoying part is you have to stay in the Navigon app though, so it has to re-pair (automatic but still) if I want to change the album I'm playing at a stop light. It does stay connected during phone calls though.
  • You even are able to connect tech devices like a elm328 via bluetooth and get some internal data about your car.
  • I've not seen this before, but it's pretty cool and it got me thinking: what's to say someone couldn't stick a translucent mirror (similar to the material used for a teleprompter) on their window and place a mount for their phone underneath it? The app would obviously have to have mirroring capabilities, but that seems like something Nokia or any developer could add in. Heck, it could be NFC enabled so that once you place it in the mount, the maps app opens, flips, and asks where you want to go!
  • I like it!  Get busy.
  • Hmm...Here's competitor ?
  • Not really a competitor. If you are looking for basic GPS, Here will do fine. I find Navigon worth the cost for the better traffic reroutes than Here, which if you've ever driven in Northern Virginia you know can save a significant amount if time.
  • It would be cool if applications supported a 'HUD' mode where everything is reversed on the screen, or a dumbed down UI like what this Garmin device does.  Then you could theoretically apply a semi reflective / semi transparent film to the windshield, like the mirror screen protectors except a little bigger, that you could line your phone up with on the dash so you can see the reflection.
  • Like,I said below, there was an old WinMo app that used to do that.
  • Requires 1.1 GB of free space...❔❔
    Think I'll stick with Here Drive + which is free on my 1020 and waaaay better than my Garmin gps both in finding addresses and routes :)
    The Garmin is currently collecting dust in a drawer... ;)
  • Both the new app and the Navigon app use here maps, so routes and addresses should be roughly the same. Like I posted above though, for me Navigon does better at handling traffic (routing to avoid it) than Here. Your experience may differ based on area though.
  • That was to Xaphoon. Mobile app reply troubles on my end. :)
  • US Amazon - $120 UK Amazon - $190 LOL
  • Original price $150
  • Does this HUD device work under daylight condition?
  • Yes, it has a built-in sensor that adjust the HUD display brightness.
  • It should, yes.
  • Looking up reviews on amazon, this seems to be not worth it. The HUD, not the app.
  • To be honest I am thinking about sending mine back to Amazon. It's nice but maybe worth only half of it's price.
  • Why not go a step further and make the whole live navigation a HUD. All you have to do is to mirror the image on the smartphone display. Light physics bouncing of the front window refleciton will do the rest!
  • There was once a WinMo app with that feature. It had a digital speedometer showing on your speed in red. You had to put the phone on one of those grip pads.
  • I've tried other HUD apps before and find that they are more novelty than useful. The cost of all this just doesn't seem worthwhile just for a novelty.
  • What's freaky is that I was telling a friend of mine about HUD on whatsapp and the integration with Navigon and this article popped up. O_O