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Garmin updates HUD+ with new companion app, lower price

Garmin's navigation head-up display loses its reliance on the Navigon app, shedding about $20 from the cost of entry in the process.

Garmin HUD+ and companion app
The new HUD companion app replaces Navigon in powering the HUD+. Garmin

LAS VEGAS -- Garmin just announced the HUD+ at CES 2014. It's a new version of its Head-Up Display, but judging by the photos and the lack of any announced new features, the only thing that appears to have changed is the price.

The HUD's hardware doesn't appear to have changed at all since I reviewed it in late 2013. Its bright green LED display still projects turn-by-turn directions, speed, lane guidance, and other relevant navigation data onto a transparent windshield film or an attached reflector lens and into the driver's line of sight.

The addition to the HUD+'s bag of tricks is new software. Where the first-generation HUD required users to purchase and install the Navigon navigation app to serve as the device's brains at an additional cost, the HUD+ has a dedicated "Garmin HUD app" that will be available in the Apple App, Google Play, and Windows Phone stores and appears to be included with the purchase of the head-up display.

From your Bluetooth paired phone, the HUD app (which I'd bet will be a reskin of the Navigon software's bones) will provide the turn-by-turn directions, locally-stored map data that even works offline, and destination search functions, sending its data to be displayed on the HUD+. The app will also be able to notify the driver of traffic after an in-app purchase.

We complained that the previous HUD cost $149.99, but required users to purchase a version of the Navigon app, boosting the entry price for the system to about $200. The HUD+ will have a suggested retail price of $179.99 and should include the new HUD companion app in that purchase price. So while not much appears to have changed functionally, the new HUD+ at least appears to be a bit cheaper overall.