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Garmin hits iPhone directly with Nuvifone

updated 10:25 pm EST, Wed January 30, 2008

Garmin nuvifone

Garmin Wednesday night surprised the cellphone industry by taking its own leap into smartphones. The Nuvifone aims both to compete with the iPhone as well as to bring Garmin's experience with GPS navigation to the forefront. Almost entirely controlled by a 3.5-inch touchscreen interface, the device centers around its native GPS unit: in addition to straightforward navigation, a host of Google apps allow it to search for local businesses, check traffic, and view nearby weather. Any photos or videos taken with the built-in camera are automatically geotagged for positioning in location-based services.

The GPS maker also seeks to improve on areas underserved by its current rival at Apple. In addition to Wi-Fi, the Nuvifone connects to the Internet through a 3G HSDPA connection with AT&T or other worldwide networks. This helps with multi-network instant messaging (including Google) and easy access to GMail, according to the company. It also supports MMS media messaging in addition to SMS texting.

Garmin will preload the Nuvifone with North American maps that store "millions" of points of interest and plans to ship the phone during the summer of this year. Neither a price nor carriers have been identified, though the phone's quad-band GSM and use of HSDPA point to an American release either paired with AT&T or as a separate, unlocked device for use with any provider.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Would be even more exciting if it were released today, or there was any real information on it, like cost.

    And with all the focus on the GPS-ness, makes you wonder how good a phone it is.

  1. chelsel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what browser?

    A phone is a phone is a phone... the browser sold me on the iPhone though... I'm anxious to see what kind of browser is bundled with this puppy.

  1. chas_m




    Admittedly this report is barely more than a press release, BUT I didn't see ANY mention of web browsing, email and anything else related to the Net other than GPS functions.

    Doesn't have Google Maps or they would have mentioned it, so I have to think (until more info comes along) that this thing is aimed strictly at people who want to combine a GPS and a phone, nothing much more than that. Seems limited compared to the iPhone ... so far.

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "The Nuviphone aims both to compete with the iPhone"

    What version of the iPhone? Since there is no indication of when it will be released and what it's actual feature set is, how can it be said to be a iPhone competitor? At least it wasn't labeled a iPhone "killer." Yet.

  1. dogzilla

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Looks pretty sweet. First phone I've seen that could potentially interest me as much as my iPhone. The Geotagging would be incredibly nice, and having a true GPS and true location-aware applications would be amazing and a big step up from what the iPhone can offer - Apple hasn't even announced any product with GPS.

    There's not much info here, but I'm definitely interested.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    As an fyi - Google Maps is powered by Navteq data . . . the same data that Garmin uses for all of their nuvi devices. And per Engadget, the device has a browser and email access.

  1. VHMP01

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Anyway, here we go again in the article comparing it so debates can be achieved.

    Cool, but no media player? Photo geo-tagging can be done with my 1.5 year old iPAQ hw6945, whatís new? Some nice applications but lacks a lot others.

    Ok, so Iíll put another grain to comparisons then. Stock went down 10% and someone went down over 30%. Some are getting new products out and others are losing to unblocked devices (remember it was a more expensive than the public cost device but subsidized by carrier, meaning hardware itself really loses money if not sold with a 2 year expensive contract).

    So comparisons start to get boring!

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I gotta say...

    It looks very nice. Possibly a Photoshopped picture. It's very slim and clean and very distinctive. It will probably need the latest low-power chipset to get decent battery life. It will still require a decent OS to get the most out of it. I'm certain the iPhone will have a lot of competition this year. Just 6 million more iPhones to sell.

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Competition is good

    It does look like a nice device and Garmin's entry into the market will (presumably) raise the bar on the GPS/map aspects. Personally I hope Apple improves the chat features in response to competition. Full support for all the chat standards (and not crapping texting) should make the next cut for the iPhone.

  1. midtoad

    Joined: Dec 1969


    has browser

    @chas_m: you say you don't see any mention of browsing. Did you happen to look at the pictures of the unit? Two of them clearly show a browser viewing the website.

    I'd like to see if GoogleMaps on this unit could show your current position.

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