Hudway: What Is It & How Good Is It

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Many of us have downloaded and used turn-by-turn navigation apps. Two of the most popular navigation apps are Waze and Google Maps. But there’s a new entrant into the field that has something not available in these apps: Hudway Glass. What is the Hudway Company and Hudway Glass, and how good is it? Read on to find out.

Hudway: the Company

Hudway

Hudway is a company based in California that was started in 2013. The founders were two cousins, Alex Ostanin and Ivan Klabukov.

The Name Is the Key

Hudway gets its name from the combination of an acronym and a word. The acronym is ‘HUD,’ which stands for ‘Head-Up Display,’ combined with ‘way’ as a reference to finding your way via navigation.

Head-Up Display

Originally developed for fighter pilots, head-up displays allowed important information such as airspeed, altitude, targeting information and weapons status to be projected onto a semi-reflective piece of glass directly in the pilot’s line of sight. This allowed the fighter pilot to track visually the enemy plane without having to look down at the instrument panel.

The HUD technology overtime was ported, with limited success, to consumer automobiles. The first HUD prototype appeared in the General Motors Mako Shark concept car in 1965. The Mako Shark was a harbinger of the Corvettes of the 60s and 70s. However, that HUD design never made it into production.

First Production Car HUD

The 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible Indy Pace Car Edition was the first car to host a rudimentary HUD. It projected the car’s speed and turn signals onto a piece of semi-reflective glass in the driver’s sightline. The first mass-market car with a HUD was the 1989 Nissan 240SX and Maxima.

Nowadays, many luxury car models offer a Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) based HUD as an option.

Hudway Glass

In 2015, the Hudway Company introduced Hudway Glass. Hudway Glass is a package that you can use with any smartphone to turn it into a head-up display. It consists of a cradle that is attached to the dashboard in the driver’s line of sight into which you can place your phone. Above the cradle is an adjustable rectangle (roughly) of semi-reflective plastic.

Hudway Glass Financing

Hudway ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2015 to raise money to produce Hudway Glass. The company raised a reported $600,000 from more than 9,000 people worldwide. This funding allowed the company to produce over 10,000 Hudway Glass units that began shipping in 2016.

Using Hudway Glass

To use the device, place your cell phone into the cradle and open a HUD-enabled navigation app, including Hudway’s own app, which comes with the cradle. https://www.amazon.com/HUDWAY-Glass-Universal-Navigation-Smartphone/dp/B01LX2XO5R

Reduce Distracted Driving

The main idea behind Hudway’s system, as with all HUD systems, is to reduce distracted driving. You no longer have to look down at your cell phone and take your eyes off the road to see navigation information. Hudway glass has been said to provide good visibility in night driving conditions, but user feedback has been that it’s hard to view in bright daylight conditions.

Hudway Glass Reviews

The reviews of Hudway Glass have been, in a word, tepid. Here are some kudos and critiques:

Mounting System

Early versions of Hudway Glass used a magnetic ring mounting device that quickly became unglued when left in the hot sun for a couple of hours. Later versions include a hard mounting point and a slotted or snap-on mounting device, which appears to have removed that problem.

Weight Limits

While Hudway designed the Hudway Glass cradle to work with almost any cell phone, the company recommends that the total weight of the phone and cradle not exceed 12 ounces.

Ease of Mounting

The system is easy to use. Just place your phone in the cradle, attach the cradle to the dashboard and tilt the screen until you can easily see the display.

Daytime Visibility

One of the largest critiques of the Hudway Glass system is the difficulty of viewing the display in bright daylight. If you’ve ever tried to use your cell phone camera outside during the daytime while wearing sunglasses, you will understand the problem. Users report that even on the brightest setting it’s still challenging to make out the display.

Newer versions of Hudway glass have a purple-tinted screen that is supposed to make the display easier to see in bright conditions, but users still report difficulty.

User Comments

Some users complain that having to place their cell phones on the dashboard caused the phones to overheat on sunny days. Multiple users complained that the glue does not stick very well, particularly on new or smooth dashboards.

There are also several quality issues with the product. Some users reported that the hinge holding the reflective screen was fragile and easily broke. Others said the mounting system was too flexible or didn’t hold the unit securely.

But the biggest complaint by far was not being able to see the display very well during the day. As the device is passive, the display brightness is limited to the brightness your cell phone can put out.

Other HUD Navigation Apps

There are a few other navigation apps that will work with Hudway Glass. One thing to note is that any HUD navigation app needs to reverse its directions and texts to be legible when reflected off a screen. If you try to use Hudway Glass with a navigation app that is not HUD-enabled, the directions and text will be reversed and you won’t be able to read any information.

Two other HUD-enabled apps that work with Hudway Glass are Sygic and Navmii GPS.

Conclusion

Hudway Glass is an innovative product concept that ran into significant problems when implemented. Our recommendation is that you not purchase Hudway Glass unless you do most of your driving at night, or at least realize the product is best used in low-light conditions. We recommend you do not use this product in bright sun or on hot days.

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