Garmin announces $700 outdoor GPS unit running Android


garmin monterra

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.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. wtf? This one has me scratching my head.

    1. Used for hikers out in the wilderness, all the navigation tools you’ll need, no data connection required, also probably water resistant and built like a tank.

      1. @white pride america, are you a nazi? why do you have a swastika type avatar? revolting mate, really revolting.

        1. Not that I want to defend a potential racist, but the “SS” isn’t a swatsika, though it is closely associated with it. And “White Pride” isn’t inherently bad, proud to be white….that’s just as fine as a “black pride” tag would be. Although the political correctness conditioning we’ve been under for the past decade would have you believe differently.

          If he is however a racist, to hell with him.

          1. the logo is VERY much like a swastika, or the nazi SS…
            I am sure that is no co-incidence. If it is, then they are a bunch of morons for making a logo that harkens to such an ugly attitude/belief/time in history.

          2. Given the number of coincidences here, you are probably right about his intent. But a very similar SS is used in a lot of places, the “super sport” logo applied to a number of cars has that same styling. I don’t want to argue for a racist, but I hate political correctness just as much as racism. Boiled down to there purest forms, they are the exact same thing.

          3. @reznorfan0:disqus the similarity between “political correctness” and racism is that in both scenarios, the people think they are right and others are wrong, but it is at that rather shallow level that the similarity ends. Many millions of people of all kinds have been butchered, murdered, exterminated over centuries and continents, all because of the idea that one race is better or worse than another. Last time I checked, nobody in history has ever died because of “political correctness”, so get over your pet peeve, it’s silly.

          4. So we should never care about anything besides else but genocide, because nothing is worse that that?

          5. No I’m not racist.

  2. I give the folks at XDA 24 hours from when they get their hands on it till they retrieve the apk and release it for anyone to use for free.

    1. ROM you mean?

      1. No, I mean the apk. I assume it runs on a regular Android build (of course customized for the device) and what makes it a navigation device is the set of Garmin apps.

      2. мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

        I don’t want to argue for a racist, but I hate political correctness
        just as much as racism. Boiled down to there purest forms, they are the
        exact same thing.

        1. Go play in traffic.

  3. I project yearly sales in the 100s. DOA.

    1. 100s? You’re too geneorus.

  4. I would think for that price it would have a few extra features that in my opinion should be considered stock at that price point:

    -LED Flashlight

    -Some kind of SOS/Emergency Alert feature

    -a very large battery (really unsure how long these things can last)

    -Water, dust and shock resistant or proof

    1. What do you think ipx7 means?

      1. Couldnt tell ya! Care to enlighten me and probably others?

        1. http://www8.garmin.com/footnotes/IEC_60529_IPX7.html

          “Most newer Garmin® GPS units are waterproof in accordance with IEC 60529 IPX7. IEC 60529 is a European system of test specification standards for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment. An IPX7 designation means the GPS case can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. An IPX8 designation is for continuous underwater use.”

  5. you can download any number of apps from the app store that don’t require a data connection, why pay $700 for special hardware to run an android GPS app on, this is one of the most useless products ever.

    1. It all depends on the battery life, if this thing can run for 24 hours while navigating and if it’s waterproof then it’s potentially interesting otherwise not. As you point out there are several apps that provide this functionality for a lot less. I use Sygic which comes from Tom Tom, it costs $40 and it’s better then any GPS that I’ve ever owned. Garmin also has an app, although it’s not rated as highly. The problem with GPS on a phone or tablet is that it sucks the battery dry in no time. A GPS that’s optimized for hiking (where you are moving at three miles/hour vs 60 in a car) that could run all day does something that a phone doesn’t. My very first Garmin, a GPSIII that I got in 1999, lasted for 36 hours on a couple of AAs. Each subsequent device has had a shorter battery life. Currently I use Sygic and Google Maps (when there is a connection) on a Nexus 7 in my car and very light use on my Galaxy Nexus when I’m hiking (i.e. only to check my position occasionally not for actual navigation).

      1. You could also get an external battery for your phone.

  6. Co pilot live 9.99 when I bj bought it and it has everything I need.

  7. had the garminfone been more powerful and on a proper up to date version of android at the time it would have been fantastic. my brother had it for a short time and after I customized it for him with a launcher replacement it was great. but it bogged down too quick and had a terrible soc for anything like games. it couldn’t even play angry birds.

  8. Looks like the body of a phone. Go figure.
    Google maps and Navigator work fine for me.
    After my garmin GPS broke I just use navigator on my galaxy s2 as a GPS.
    I plug it into a black and decker plug in my car.

  9. Funny thing is that I’m probably in their target demographic. I need a hand held GPS that is feature rich, works wonderfully off trail, can be field recharged, is mud/dust/water resistant and has decent detail on the screen. I’ve even dropped as much as $550 on Garmin GPS units in the past. My Oregon 450T has seen many hundred if not thousands of miles. Problem is, there’s no significant advantage here. Instead I backed the “Meet Earl” Project: http://www.meetearl.com/ with way more perks, sure it isn’t color and would make a poor phone replacement, but I don’t need a phone replacement, I need a killer GPS that’s readable in direct sunlight and supports Android apps for easier trail data. The solor charger, weather forecast and emergency radio built in are just perks.

  10. Good Android Phone and Free Google Maps. Why would you want to buy separate expensive device?

  11. I don’t think i would pay that much, but it’s an interesting device.

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