updated 02:15 pm EST, Thu January 3, 2008
Entering an increasingly heated race for smartphones, ASUS today revealed that it will launch its P527 smartphone in the US. The candybar sequel to the earlier P526 not only includes true GPS for navigation but is designed to make better use of its mapping abilities than other devices. A Travelog feature can be especially useful for vacationers and workers alike, according to ASUS; when set, the software will mark travel points and save them in a format that can be used by Google Earth to plot a trip regardless of its distance. Emergencies are handled by a unique Location Courier feature that automatically relays coordinates to as many as five separate phone numbers through SMS text messages.
Like most of ASUS' handsets, the P527 runs Windows Mobile 6 and so comes with Office Mobile for basic editing and viewing on the road; extras loaded by the Taiwan firm itself include a business card reader tool for the 2-megapixel camera and an RSS news reader. Wi-Fi networking, FM radio, and an microSDHC slot with room for 8GB or more of media are built-in.
Most important is the phone's availability, ASUS notes: while some of its devices have supported US networks, the P527 will be the first cellphone from the company to launch in the US itself and will work with both GSM phone calls and EDGE cellular Internet access on supporting networks such as AT&T or T-Mobile.