Garmin and Asus have just announced a strategic alliance to design and build co-branded mobile phones. The original Nuvifone announced by Garmin will now be called the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60 and will be the beginning of a line of cell phones built by the two companies.
The Nuvifone G60 is still scheduled to be released in the first half of 2009 and there is still no carrier or price but Garmin says that they are in active negotiations with North American GSM carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile).
The next phone in the Nuvifone linup won’t be running Android but will be running another major platform, which most likely means Windows Mobile (and most likely means it will be garbage) but this will be revealed for certain at Mobile World Congress next month.
Garmin and Asus will most likely still be building an Android powered phone, since both of them are in the handset alliance but it won’t be the next phone after the G60.
This new agreement will use the manufacturing power of Asus and the software development skill of Garmin to (hopefully) build some pretty powerful cell phones.
Garmin has posted some screen captures of its upcoming cell phone, the Garmin Nuvifone. It is expected that Garmin will be showing off the device at CES but these images give us an early look at the features the phone will have.
I was actually thinking of writing a post asking what the heck happened to the Garmin Nuvifone but I guess Garmin is actually moving forward with it. Today we find out that the Nuvifone now has FCC approval.
Dash has just released its open API for developers. That means that developers will be able to use some basic tools to build apps that will highlight any geographical information that they want such as property listings, speed traps, and weather reports.
The Dash navigation device is also capable of two way communication with the internet so applications will also be able to do things like sync contacts or check the schedule of local radio stations.
This is something that needed to happen, we are living in a world where the manufacturer of a GPS system just can’t build all of the applications that people want, and since users want to be able to do all sorts of things with their devices the best way to keep them happy is to allow 3rd party developers to build apps for it. The possibilities are endless with this device, just think of it as a device that sits in your car, is always connected to the internet, and has a big touch screen.
An Engadget reader sent them a screenshot of a Garmin Survey asking the following question:
“Now, how likely would you be to buy the Garmin Nuvifone (for yourself or as a gift) if offered by AT&T for $499.99 with a two year contract? You would be required to have both a data plan that would include unlimited internet browsing and unlimited Navigation for $19.99 per month and one of the standard voice rate plans for a monthly fee.”
Remember that the Garmin Nuvifone has a 3.5″ touchscreen, 3.5G data, Wifi, GPS navigation, audio and video playback, and a 3 megapixel camera.
I personally think that $499.99 would be a pretty good deal, I bought my iPhone for $599 and later got the $100 back from Apple so effectively I paid $499 for my iPhone, on paper the Nuvifone seems to be better than the iPhone but I think that when June hits and the App Store is installed on millions of iPhones the iPhone is going to be pretty far ahead of the nuvifone.
But, this isn’t the Nuvifone vs. the iPhone it is the question of whether or not you would pay $499.99 for the Garmin Nuvifone. Considering the fact that a decent GPS navigation system is roughly $300-$400 I think paying an extra $100-$200 to get a cell phone built in is a great price.
I would pay $499.99 for the Garmin Nuvifone (but I’d still rather just stick with my iPhone instead and save the money to buy some applications for the iPhone).
The Garmin Nuvifone is shaping up to be a really great product. I personally think it was a little dumb of them to announce it before they even have a working prototype to show off but I guess that’s just me complaining just for the sake of complaining.
The Garmin Nuvifone has some very cool features, specifically I think the idea of having all of my pictures automatically geotagged is really neat.
I think the Garmin Nuvifone is an interesting option but if you don’t drive very often than I don’t know why you would really want this. But, check out the two videos below, it definitely has some awesome features.
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).