updated 08:50 am EST, Mon December 22, 2008
Garmin Makes Android Phone
Garmin Asia Pacific marketing director Tony An today revealed that the company's nuvifone will just be the first device in a series of phones. Where the original touchscreen, GPS-focused phone is now said to be due in the spring, An adds that the firm will develop multiple phones based on Google's Android platform to ship sometime in the second half of 2009. Details of the phones themselves are unavailable but should likely focus heavily on GPS navigation and will be helped by the built-in presence of Google Maps.
The hardware won't be manufactured by Garmin by itself but will instead contracted out, according to Garmin, though which firms will build the phones isn't named.
An's confirmation positions Garmin as a new but potentially significant competitor in smartphones. Unlike traditional phone manufacturers, Garmin is launching first with a touchscreen device and has significant experience with these interfaces. The Linux-based platform will also allow relatively low entry costs and the ability to develop custom software for turn-by-turn navigation, which is currently unavailable for either the existing T-Mobile G1 or rivals like Apple's iPhone.