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Garmin nüvifone Preview

 Garmin nüvifone Discontinued
2nd February 2008

Rebranded as the Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60

Garmin are an established manufacturer of GPS devices, and the strangely named Garmin nüvifone is that company's first attempt at a mobile phone.

Although not as well known as rival TomTom in Europe, Garmin have been making navigation devices for nearly two decades and worldwide pretty much match TomTom sale-for-sale. They're not the only navigation company to create a mobile phone - the Benefon Twig range is another example.. but we must say that our initial impression of the Garmin nüvifone is of a technologically impressive handset that is pitched directly against the Apple iPhone.

 Nuvifone screenshots Slated for a Q3 2008 release, the Garmin nüvifone is aimed at those people who want excellent GPS functionality from their mobile phone. Of course, other handsets such as the Nokia N95 have inbuilt satellite navigation too, but the GPS functionality is very much an afterthought and most people find that handsets like that offer a relatively poor experience when it comes to navigation.

 Garmin Nuvifone The nüvifone comes with a 3.5" touchscreen, just like most other good satellite navigation systems. There are a variety of European and North American maps, point-of-interest (POIs), traffic functions and a number of other clever navigation features.

On top of this, the Garmin nüvifone has 3.5G HSDPA, a web browser, email client, digital camera and a multimedia player. Presumably it also makes phone calls.

We think that the nüvifone has WiFi, and although Garmin haven't stated the display resolution we suspect that it is the same 480 x 272 pixel panel found in many of Garmin's other products.

As we said earlier, this isn't a mobile phone with GPS grafted on, this is a mobile phone built on top of a GPS system. This means that the nüvifone's satellite navigation functionality also forms part of many other phone features. For example, the camera function automatically tags pictures with the latitude and longitude that the handset took the photographs from, a feature bizarrely missing from many other devices. Not only that, but the picture can be used as a destination to re-navigate to that spot.. and another nüvifone user can be emailed the photo and can also use it to navigate to that location, which is pretty clever.

The nüvifone also integrates Google's Local Search facility, combining the handset's GPS and internet functions to enhance the built-in POI database even further. On top of that, you can also connect to Google's Panoramio site and use the nüvifone as a sort of tour guide.

It's hard to say just how the Garmin nüvifone will be in practice. Garmin devices have been criticised in the past for having user interfaces that are not as easy to use as their competition, so it is hard to see how the nüvifone could compete with the slickness of the iPhone (for example). But the overall philosophy of the nüvifone seems to be compelling, and it could well be the standard that all other GPS devices are judged by in the future.

Garmin say that the nüvifone should be available during the third quarter of 2008, although no pricing or carrier details are currently available.

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Garmin nüvifone Provisional Specifications


Q3 2008




GPRS + UMTS + HSDPA + WiFi (?)


480 x 272 pixels (unconfirmed)




PDA-style device



Memory card:








Battery life:



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