Earlier this week Garmin, the leading manufacturer of GPS devices, threw it’s hat into the cell phone ring by introducing the Nuvifone , a device that combines their patented navigation systems with a smartphone.
The device runs on Garmin’s proprietary operating system, and is clearly focused on naviation first, but also has the ability to surf the web, check your e-mail, and instant message your friends. The Nuvifone will aslo play MP3 and video files, comes with a built in camera for both still and video shots, and features Google Local searches. Going one step further however, the little gadget will connect with Garmin’s Online Services, providing real time traffic updates, weather conditions, gas prices and more.
While no carriers have been announced yet for the nFone, it’s technology is built around GSM HSDPA technology. That means, that at the moment, the only provider capable of offering it is AT&T, although T-Mobile will roll out HSDPA soon as well. The device is expected to be released in the 3rd quarter of this year, but a price has not been announced yet either.
This looks like an interesting device, and it’ll be interesting to see how it operates. A lot of companies have tried to create cell phones in recent years, but few have managed to get the delicate balance of phone, media player, internet device, and other features just right. As an owner of an iPhone, I can honestly say that I completely love it as a tool for making my day to day life easier, but I’m also quite curios as to how his will turn out for Garmin. Obviously navigation will be really good on it, but how well will the other features work? What will the battery life be? The voice quality? Will it challenge the Blackberry in e-mail services or the iPhone on web browsing and media playback. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see.
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