CES 2014: Garmin navigates new terrain

Garmin's new navigation devices are expected to become available in February 2014. (Supplied)

Garmin's new navigation devices are expected to become available in February 2014. (Supplied)

Satellite navigation firm Garmin International announced a range of new automotive devices this week that supplement basic navigation.

The company unveiled its new range at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with its product leader being the nüvi 2798LMT, the first nüvi with a wireless backup camera.

Garmin also announced its 2014 Essential Series – affordable nüvis with 5-inch and 6-inch displays – and Head-up Display Plus (HUD+) – a combination of Garmin's popular head-up display with a new, free companion smartphone app – at the electronics show.

The new navigation devices are expected to be available from February 2014.

More choice
"With our new line-up of navigation products, we offer our customers more choices to upgrade their vehicle with premium Garmin navigation," said Garmin vice-president of worldwide sales Dan Bartel.

The nüvi 2798LMT, which combines a 7-inch display with a wireless backup camera, allows drivers to spot vehicles, pedestrians and other obstructions when reversing. This essentially gives all consumers the functionality that is currently only available as a built-in option in high-end vehicles.

The wireless backup camera is built to withstand harsh weather conditions and can be mounted on the back of the vehicle, although the manufacturer recommends getting it installed professionally.

If the camera is wired to the reverse lights for power, the driver can set up the device to display the live camera feed automatically when he or she puts the vehicle into reverse gear and switch back to navigation mode when put into a forward gear. Otherwise a button allows the driver to toggle manually between camera and navigation mode if the camera is plugged into constant power.

The nüvi 2798LMT includes Garmin Real Directions, voice-activated navigation, free lifetime traffic and maps, as well as Active Lane Guidance with voice prompts.

The suggested retail price is $400 (R4 270).

2014 Essential Series: First nüvi models with 6-inch displays
Garmin's 2014 Essential Series features 5-inch and 6-inch dual-orientation displays at affordable prices. The navigators are standalone products that deliver spoken, turn-by-turn directions and additional premium functions that were previously only available in Garmin's Advanced Series.

New features in the Essential Series range are lifetime traffic avoidance on select models, school zone warnings, a quick search field and Up Ahead, a feature that shows a continuous stream of points of interest next to the map view.

All Essential Series devices come preloaded with detailed maps and they don't rely on cellular reception, so users can navigate without worrying about dead zones or cellphone tower range.

Suggested retail prices for nüvis in the 2014 Essential Series range from $130 to $210, depending on the model.

HUD+ with smartphone app
HUD+ combines Garmin's portable head-up display with a free companion smartphone app.

HUD+ projects directions on to a transparent film on the windscreen or an attached reflector lens. It receives navigation information from a bluetooth-connected smartphone running the free Garmin HUD navigation app, which is available to download from the App Store, Google Play or Windows Phone Store.

The idea is to provide road guidance at a glance and within the driver's line of sight to help increase safety and reduce driver distraction.

The suggested retail price for HUD+ is $180.

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