GPSes used to be expensive and uncommon, but now half of the population carries one around in their pockets. That new Android smartphone you bought? It has GPS-functionality built-in through Google Maps. So does that new tablet. But get this - dedicated GPS units are still a thing, and I'm not talking about the kind that you mount on your dashboard. Today Garmin announced Monterra, the company's first Android-powered handheld outdoor GPS with WiFi.
Garmin's lightweight device is basically a rugged smartphone without a cell radio. Or, if you're old enough to have ever used one, a PDA. It is built to assist outdoorsy types as they conquer all kinds of unpleasant terrain, along with water. It comes with an 8MP camera capable of recording 1080p HD video and is equipped with LED flash. Though its 8GB of internal memory may seem limiting, a microSD card slot is thankfully present.
The Monterra is also equipped with a slew of features that are clearly intended for its niche audience, such as a 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and UV sensor. The 4-inch multi-touch screen is readable in sunlight, a key advantage over the majority of available smartphones. Another advantage? It can draw power either from a rechargeable battery or AA batteries. I know, AA batteries are pretty old school, but there are undoubtedly times when it would be nice to just pop in a couple to get a phone through the day. That said, AA batteries are fatter than most smartphones, and so is this device. It's not going to win any beauty pageants, but at a starting price of $649.99, it's not trying to appeal to casual users anyway.
June 24, 2013 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced Monterra, Garmin’s first WiFi-enabled outdoor handheld GPS that combines Garmin’s powerful location and mapping capabilities and the versatility of the Android™ operating system. It has a vivid, sunlight-readable touchscreen, and users can easily access the Google Play Store™ and download apps through an available WiFi connection right on the device. Developers are also free to create new apps that are ideally suited for the rugged, waterproof, and sensor-loaded handheld device.
“With a four-inch, color, multi-touch display, unique 3D MapMerge, and the ability to create new apps, Monterra takes the outdoor GPS to a whole new level, and users are able to take advantage of the features no matter how adverse the terrain may be.”
“Monterra provides outdoor professionals and enthusiasts with the ultimate ability to customize their GPS device to perfectly suit their personal and professional needs,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With a four-inch, color, multi-touch display, unique 3D MapMerge, and the ability to create new apps, Monterra takes the outdoor GPS to a whole new level, and users are able to take advantage of the features no matter how adverse the terrain may be.”
With the Android operating system, users are able to access all their favorite outdoor-related Android apps, such as Peak Finder, and even those that aren’t, through the Google Play Store right on the device. They can even access professional apps like construction estimators and ArcGIS to extend some office functions to the field. Monterra also has a built-in FM radio and NOAA weather radio with SAME alerts, so users can receive watches and warnings related to their location. Users can either listen with headphones or through the built-in speaker.
Monterra has a built-in 3-axis compass with accelerometer and gyro, which indicates the user’s direction even when standing still or not holding the device level. Its barometric altimeter has the ability to track changes in pressure to pinpoint precise altitude, and it can also plot barometric pressure over time to monitor weather conditions. It also has a built-in UV sensor so users can monitor the intensity of the sun, and reduce exposure if necessary. Thanks to its high-sensitivity, dual-band GPS and GLONASS receiver, Monterra finds its location quickly and maintains signal lock even in heavy cover and deep canyons.
New to the Monterra, is a unique mapping feature: 3D MapMerge. With this feature, users can combine two maps—like TOPO, basemap, or BirdsEye Satellite Imagery—then view the new unique map in three dimensions. Hills, valleys, lakes, roads, and points of interest combine to give Monterra’s maps unequaled detail and richness. Combine BirdsEye with TOPO US 24K, or a GIS-based water table map with a shaded relief basemap, then zoom in, pan out, and rotate the 3D map using multi-touch. With 3D MapMerge, Monterra becomes the ultimate mapping tool.
No need to take a separate camera out into the field, either. Monterra has a built-in 8-megapixel autofocus digital camera that takes vivid, geo-tagged photos for easy return navigation, plus a 1080p HD video camera with LED flash. Users can easily download photos and videos to their computer for either work or sharing using Garmin Adventures. Monterra has 8 GB of internal memory built-in plus a microSD slot for even more extra storage.
Monterra features a vivid and highly durable mineral glass display that uses sunlight in combination with the unit’s LED backlight to increase brightness and view-ability. Monterra has an IPX7 waterproof rating and also uses a dual battery system, which allows users the option of using the rechargeable Li-ion pack (included) or traditional AA batteries. It is also compatible with the same mounts as the Garmin Montana™, so users can take Monterra anywhere.
Wireless sharing is easy with Monterra. It has WiFi, ANT+™, Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC capabilities, which allows users to share data, maps, waypoints, tracks, routes, and geocaches with other wireless compatible devices. Additionally, Monterra is compatible withBaseCamp™, a free software download that lets you view and organize maps, waypoints, routes and tracks.
Monterra is a heavyweight geocaching device, meaning it can hold millions of geocaches. Download caches from OpenCaching.com, or use a downloaded Android app, and users won’t run out of room. All the paperless geocaching features, such as descriptions, hints and logs, will be there for every single cache. Cachers can also view photos, connect to chirp® enabled caches, and filter caches by size, terrain, difficulty and type.
The new Garmin Monterra will be available third quarter 2013 at a suggested retail price of $649.99 (Worldwide with preloaded worldwide basemap), and $699.99 (U.S. with preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K with Navteq® roads). With Monterra, users are able to work mobile in the field, using all the Android apps they are used to using, but with the assurance of a rugged device that is waterproof, has longer battery life, an easy to read display and a variety of mounting options.
Monterra is the latest solution from Garmin’s growing outdoor segment, which focuses on developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ outdoor experiences. Whether hiking, hunting, geocaching, golfing, or dog training, Garmin outdoor devices are becoming essential tools for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. For more information about Garmin’s other outdoor products and services, go to http://www.garmin.com/outdoors, www.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin.