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Garmin Nuvifone still on track for 2009 launch

updated 11:55 am EDT, Wed October 29, 2008

Garmin Nuvifone due for 09

Portable navigation device maker Garmin said on Wednesday its delayed nuvifone handset is still on track for a 2009 release. The GPS-enabled phone should launch in the first half of 2009, with Garmin announcing it has already signed letters of intent with carriers, but did not provide other launch details. The nuvifone was originally due for a summer 2008 release and feature a 3.5-inch touchscreen as well as 3G HSPA network support. Garmin did post third-quarter earnings ahead of Wall Street's expectations but is below those expectations for all of 2008 to date.

AT&T is considered the sole current candidate for the device through its support of the necessary 3G frequency.

Garmin CEO Min Kao has expressed concerns over the challenging market conditions, despite the company's third-quarter growth. Industry analysts are more concerned with the added competition the nuvifone will face from the likes of established players in the smartphone game including Apple's iPhone, T-Mobile's G1 and RIM's BlackBerry RIM line-up, among others. All of these competitors use built-in GPS sensors and technology as well, leaving Garmin to come up with something more unique to differentiate its handset from others. [via ZDNet]






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