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Smartphone Apps Force GPS Companies To Get Creative

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Sales of those GPS units you stick in your car have taken a hit, thanks to smartphone saturation.

Garmin, for one, has shifted its focus to products for fitness, marine, and aviation. But the company still thinks it has a place on your dashboard.

With Waze, Google Maps, and other free turn-by-turn apps, shelling out a hundred bucks or so for a device that does the same thing makes sense for fewer people.

So Garmin's newest idea, the HUD+, makes use of the GPS already on your phone:

"It's a little device that you place on your dashboard, and it projects directions onto the windshield."

Company spokesman Johan Broer says the heads-up display appears on a transparent film you apply to the windshield glass, or on a reflector lens on the device.

"You can see through it, you can keep an eye on the road, and that at the same time you can see directions."

It also features lane guidance, distance to the next turn and an estimated arrival time.

"It even shows you current speed and speed limit."

And, over your phone's speaker or car's Bluetooth, it announces your next move. Broer says the $180 HUD+ is safer than smacking your smartphone on the windshield, or keeping it at lap level.

"You will see directions right in your line of sight without obstructing your view. And it helps you to keep your eyes on the road."

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