Garmin announces GPS phone

Garmin claims its device is the first of its kind to integrate premium HSDPA capability with an internet browser, data connectivity, personal messaging and personal navigation functions all in one device. From looking at the promotional shots, it looks pretty slick too with a slim build that defies its powerful capabilities.


When turned on, the large 3.5-inch touch-screen displays "Call," "Search," and "View Map" icons that act as the phones main navigation points. To make a call for example, simply tap the "Call" button twice to select a name from the contact list, or by using the on-screen keypad.


However, as would be expected from a phone made by one of the world's leading GPS manufacturers, the nüvifone's main feature is navigation. When the phone is set in the accompanying vehicle docking mount, the built-in GPS will automatically turn on, while switching to hands-free mode. Preloaded with maps of North America, Eastern and Western Europe, users are guided by voiced directions automatically recalculating a route if you take a wrong turn.


The Google local search enables users to search for points of interest such as coffee shops or banks, providing results based on current location and relevance. The "Where am I?" feature uses the touch-screen to provide important information in case of an emergency. Simply touch the screen to display the exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the closest hospitals, police stations and gas stations. The nüvifone also marks the last position it was removed from the car, helping drivers find their vehicle in an unfamiliar spot or crowded parking lot.


Garmin Online offers constant updates on real-time traffic, fuel prices, stock prices, sport scores, news reports, local events and weather forecasts. Another useful feature allows users to take photos tagging them with the exact latitude and longitude reference of where the image was taken. This image can then be used to navigate themselves back to their original location, or alternatively be sent to a friend.


The Garmin nüvifone is expected to start shipping in Q3 2008.

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