Garmin will take on Apple & Nokia with “the nüvifone”. It promises to merge 3.5G phone/camera/browser with Garmin’s GPS/Mapping technology, slick design and a touch UI. There isn’t much tech detail yet but from their press release the feature set looks promising:
- 3.5G mobile phone capability with an Internet browser, data connectivity, personal messaging, and personal navigation functions with 3.5-inch touchscreen display
- Web browser incorporating premium features and touchscreen operation for an optimum mobile browsing experience.
- Built-in video camera, MP3 and MPEG4/AAC
- GPS with pre-loaded maps of North America, Eastern and Western Europe (no mention of Asia Pacific?)
- Find a specific street address, establishment’s name or search for a destination by category using the nüvifone’s built-in database with millions of points of interest.
- Turn-by-turn, voice-prompted directions, after missed turn automatically recalculates a route
- Helps drivers find their car in an unfamiliar spot or crowded parking lot by automatically marking the position in which it was last removed from the vehicle mount.
- Garmin’s first device to include Google local search capability
- Direct access to millions of geo-located landmark and sightseeing photographs available through Google’s Panoramio picture sharing site.
- “Where am I?” feature lets users touch the screen at any time to display the exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and gas stations.
- The nüvifone includes access to Garmin Online™, an online service offering constantly-updating information such as real-time traffic, fuel prices, stock prices, sport scores, news reports, local events and weather forecasts
- Garmin anticipates that the nüvifone will be available in the third quarter of 2008.
The big questions are cost, battery life (a major limitation with multi-function devices) and, if not for my USA/European readers, will it be available in Asia/Pacific? As a Garmin Etrex owner I know how useful personal GPS can be so combining that with decent phone and mobile web looks like an enticing mix. With evidence of Google photo mapping New Zealand city streets in recent months we will have the database to support it. Come on down Garmin!
Garmin Blog: Garmin's New York Surprise
“As you may have heard, last night was a big night for us in the Big Apple.“
“The purpose was to unveil our Super Bowl ad and to discuss "the future of Garmin and its products." Seems tame enough.
But we had a trick up our sleeve -- the nüvifone. It's safe to say we took the audience by surprise -- OK, that's an understatement. As we made the announcement, the audience collectively reached for their BlackBerries and iPhones to send the big news back to their offices…
Additional information about nüvifone is available at http://www.garmin.com/nuvifone