updated 08:10 am EDT, Fri July 24, 2009
Garmin nuvifone G60 Ships
Garmin today offically threw itself into competition in the touchscreen phone arena by shipping the nüvifone G60 to its first market. The handset is now due to reach Taiwan on July 27th and should reach both Malaysia and Singapore by the end of August. The GPS-centered device is also now deemed "on schedule" for both European and North American launches before the end of the year, though carrier options (if any) and prices have yet to be detailed.
The G60 was originally unveiled in early 2008 and was supposed to upstage the iPhone by providing detailed GPS navigation at a time when the iPhone had no positioning of its own. However, repeated delays both for the hardware and in securing deals has all but negated the advantage as the iPhone has gained both GPS as well as the hardware and software for full turn-by-turn GPS navigation, including apps from NAVIGON and soon TomTom. The G60 doesn't currently operate as a true smartphone but has multiple associated features, including its signature full-fledged GPS navigation app based on the nüvi GPS interface and a WebKit-based web browser. It currently supports 3G over HSPA (including on US frequencies), a 3-megapixel camera with geotagging and Wi-Fi.
The second phone in the series, the nüvifone M20, is due next month in all of the above Asian countries as well as Hong Kong and Thailand. However, the phone is only due to spread to Europe before the end of 2009 and will lack both GSM calling and any data for North America. It's to date the only true smartphone in the line and will use Windows Mobile 6.1 with an option to upgrade to 6.5 when it ships. While it has a smaller 2.8-inch screen, it has the same hardware features and GPS interface as the G60.