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Asus To Launch S.O.S. Smartphone In U.S.

In an emergency situation, a user can push a button on the P527 and send SMS messages to five designated numbers.

Taiwan-based manufacturer Asus announced plans at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to launch its P527 GPS smartphone in the United States soon.

Taiwan-based manufacturer Asus plans to launch its P527 GPS smartphone in the U.S. early this year.
(click image for larger view)

The P527 is designed for travelers, sporting built-in GPS and related applications, including Travelog and Location Courier. Travelog lets users capture their travel routes and export the information to Google Earth. The points of interest can be enhanced with pictures and memos that can then be turned into a presentation and edited.

Location Courier serves as what Asus calls an "S.O.S. device" that sends GPS coordinates to five phone numbers. So in an emergency situation, a user can push a button on the phone and send SMS messages to the designated numbers.

The phone also comes with an MP3 player, FM radio, MPEG4 video capability, a 2-megapixel camera, and an RSS reader that allows news alerts and messages to be sent directly to the phone.

The P527 is based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 operating system, which gives users the ability to view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, as well as receive wireless "push" e-mail that is automatically sent to the phone from Microsoft Exchange Servers.

Some additional features include a Business Card Recognition application that can scan business cards and store the information in Outlook, and a Remote Control function that turns the phone into a remote control for PowerPoint presentations, according to Asus.

While the U.S. version of the P527 has Wi-Fi for high-speed Internet access through 802.11b and g connectivity, it lacks 3G and uses a slower cellular technology called EDGE. It's not official yet which carrier in the United States will offer the phone, but AT&T and T-Mobile come to mind since they both run GSM networks that it's compatible with.

The P527 will become available in the United States sometime early this year. Asus has not provided pricing information.

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