Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60

Asus, one of the IT industry leaders offering everything from PC components to complete solutions including notebooks, desktops, smartphones, PDAs, broadband communications products, LCD monitors and wireless applications, started a collaboration with Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation. Created at the beginning of February, the strategic alliance already started the development of their own product line, which will be known as the Garmin-Asus nuvifone series.

The new Garmin-Asus alliance has been present at the Mobile World Congress 2009, in Barcelona, and showcased two of its new series of devices, as it was expected. Garmin-Asus plans to release several new co-branded location-centric mobile phones in 2009. The first device present at the alliance’s booth is no surprise, as it’s last year’s Garmin nuvifone, which was also showcased at CeBit 2008. Still, the original Garmin nuvifone that was announced in 2008 has been re-branded as the Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60.

Featuring a large 3.55-inch TFT resistive touchscreen with a weird 272 x 480 pixel resolution, the G60 mobile phone is sure to offer a smooth navigation experience. The quad-band GSM nuvifone G60 runs on a Linux OS and features: HSDPA 3.6 Mbps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, 3 Megapixel camera with autofocus, 4GB flash memory and 128MB RAM, microSD (up to 16GB) and built-in GPS receiver.

The nuvifone product line also includes the Ciao! application, which functions more like a social service. The app helps users stay up to date on their friends’ location and status by linking numerous location-centric social networks. Through Ciao! users will be able to see their friends’ location on a map and then navigate to that location with ease. Nuvifone users can also choose to have the handset automatically update their social network location information.

Another interesting feature of the device allows users to place calls and identify their exact GPS location while making a phone call. Basically, if you touch the screen during a phone call, the “Where am I?” features will tell you the exact latitude and longitude coordinates, nearest address, intersection, hospital, police station and gas station. The Garmin-Asus nuvifone G60 is expected to be delivered in the first half of 2009, at a price that will be disclosed soon.

The second Garmin-Asus location-centric mobile phone that was introduced at MWC 2009, nuvifone M20, is a Windows Mobile-based device. As the first Garmin-Asus nuvifone powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with enterprise email, the sleek and colorful nuvifone M20 targets businessmen. Featuring a medium sized 2.8-inch TFT resistive touchscreen (480 x 640 pixel resolution), accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate, the nuvifone M20 weighs only 99g (including battery) and is 12.8mm in thickness.

Other highlights of the smartphone include: HSDPA 7.2 Mbps connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, USB 2.0, Push email, 3 Megapixel camera with autofocus and video (QVGA@15fps) function, built-in GPS receiver, 4GB/8GB flash memory and Qualcomm 7200A 528MHz processor.

The nuvifone M20 takes GPS navigation one step further via Connected Services, a suite of online applications and data from Garmin-Asus that adds location intelligence to navigation, phone and browser functions. The expandable list of applications includes content like real-time traffic information, White Pages, weather, flight status, local events, and movie times. Garmin-Asus expects to announce the nuvifone M20’s pricing and availability information in the first half of 2009. ]

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