Garmin announced their first handset just a couple of days ago, the Garmin nuvifone, and according to Garmin’s president and COO, it’s the “breakthrough product that cellphone and GPS users around the world have been longing for.” The handset will feature a 3.5″ screen, the phone will have a internet browser, HSDPA, and preloaded maps for North America and/or Eastern and Western Europe.

The GPS maps feature has “millions” of POIs, turn-by-turn directions, voice-prompted directions and is also Garmin’s first device to have Google’s local search capability.

The nuvifone is planned to be released in the 3Q 2008 but there is no word yet on pricing or who will be carrying the phone.

The nuvifone also has:

  • Integrated media player with support for MP3, MPEG4, and AAC.
  • Built in camera with automatic geotagging built in (camera also supports video).
  • “Where am I?” gives you precise longitude/latitude coordinates at any time.
  • Garmin Online gives nuvifone users access to constantly updated information such as, traffic, fuel prices, stock prices, sports scores, news reports, local events, and weather forecasts.
  • Helps drivers remember where they parked by marking the position where the nuvifone was last removed from the vehicle mount.

This is a really cool phone that looks like it is borrowing a lot from the iPhone without being an out and out knock off. I’m excited for this phone, and I also wonder if this phone alongside the iPhone will bring in a new breed of cell phones made by manufacturers that are experts in a specific mobile gadget field that make cell phones that are focused on working very well at that same specific field (such as the iPhone which borrows it great media playing from the iPhone, and the nuvifone which borrows its GPS ability from Garmin’s GPS devices).

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