Garmin-Asus To Release Oft-Delayed Nuvifone

The location-centric smartphone will be coming out 18 months after it was first introduced.

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone
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Smartphone fans won't have to wait much longer to get their hands on Garmin-Asus' Nuvifone, as the company said it will be shipping the GPS-centric device this month to select Asian markets.

The touch-screen handset was first introduced by Garmin in January of 2008, and its location-based features made some industry watchers think it could be a decent alternative to Apple's iPhone. But the handset has faced multiple delays as Garmin struggled to create a Linux-based mobile operating system from scratch, and Apple has already released two new iPhone models since Garmin first announced its handset.

Since the announcement, Garmin has teamed with Asus to manufacture and develop smartphones, and it will be using more established operating systems like Windows Mobile and Android for future handsets.

The handset will be branded the Nuvifone G60, and it will come with integrated Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, Bluetooth, and over-the-air e-mail capabilities. It will come preloaded with maps of North America and Europe, and it will offer audible turn-by-turn directions. The company said the smartphone will have strong integration with a user's location for things like social networking, mapping, and other services.

"Our lives are all about location. The Nuvifone is designed around that premise and that's what differentiates it from the myriad of other phones on the market," said Cliff Pemble, Garmin's president, in a statement.

It is unclear how well the device will do against the competition, as competitors like Apple, Nokia, HTC, Palm, and Research In Motion have released devices that are arguably more advanced than the Nuvifone. Additionally, Garmin-Asus' handset likely won't have an application infrastructure for buying and downloading new programs, and this is becoming an increasingly important factor for smartphones.

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