We got our first glimpse of Navdy’s smart heads-up display for cars back in 2014, when the company crowdfunded its way to around two and a half million dollars.
Two years and around $26 million in venture capital later, it’s here: as of this morning, the Navdy is officially shipping.
The idea behind Navdy is simple enough: take the stuff that might usually live on your phone’s screen (or on your car’s in-dash info system) and put it on a screen that is, in theory, less distracting.
But the execution of that idea is where things get fun, with the final product looking like something out of The Fifth Element. They blast your GPS routes, text messages, and other details onto an almost completely-clear piece of glass that sits just inside of your windshield, just below your natural line of site while driving. When it all lines up just right, it sort of looks like your GPS maps (or your texts, album art, etc.) are floating on the road in front of you.
Meanwhile, the device has sensors watching for hand gestures in the air space just above your steering wheel. Want to answer an incoming call? Just swipe your hand to the left, and boom: call answered, jedi-style.
Alas, the Navdy has gotten a bit pricier since its 2014 pre-orders. Whereas the earliest of adopters were able to get in on the ground floor for $299 and the company projected the retail price to come in at around $499, the final cost of the Navdy has since hiked its way up to $799. That’s… pretty steep, for a device that primarily doubles as a more convenient and/or potentially less distracting means of doing stuff that, for the most part, your smartphone already does. Meanwhile, Anker — a company known for building solid stuff on the cheap – has already announced their plans to build something similar enough that it’s hard to avoid calling it a clone.
With all that said: damn, this thing looks cool in person.
Navdy sent us a unit to check out for a few days, so we’ll have a full review sometime soon.