Garmin was quickly chased out of the Android smartphone game when it tried to release a bevy of Nuvi-branded smartphones in conjunction with ASUS, but the navigation company has decided to give Android another go. The catch is it’s not a phone this time — it’s a standalone GPS unit called the Garmin Monterra. And it costs $650 (or $700 if you want world maps).
That’s quite a steep price considering the device doesn’t house cellular radios. It has your standard suite of sensors and connectivity features otherwise, including Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC and Ant+. The device has an IPX7 rating to make it ideal for those doing some trekking in the wilderness, and will feature things like the ability to use replaceable AA batteries (it comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion pack but that’s a nice option for this sort of need), a brighter touchscreen for easier outdoor use, and more.
The Monterra will feature access to the Google Play Store, so you won’t be tied to Garmin’s suite of navigation tools. It’s worth noting that the device does come pre-loaded with worldwide basemaps or the US map with TOPO’s 100,000 most frequented roads.
It’s a steep price to pay with phones coming with a suite of navigational tools and free maps, but considering it’s not being subsidized we imagine Garmin feels justified in slapping that price tag on it. This might be the best thing since sliced bread for those who need a device that can provide reliable mapping and navigation without a strong data connection, but if you’re like me you’re probably satisfied with what your smartphones can already do. The Garmin Monterra will be available in the third quarter of this year. Find more info at Garmin’s site.