updated 09:35 am EDT, Tue September 29, 2009
Garmin nuvifone G60 at AT&T
More than a year and a half after it was originally announced, Garmin's nüvifone G60 has received an official launch in the US through AT&T. The GPS-centric phone originally meant to compete with the pre-GPS iPhone centers on a deep navigation app based directly on Garmin's dedicated nüvi in-car units with some accommodations for mobile users: it not only works as a pedestrian device but will remember when it was last attached to its car mount, helping owners remember where they parked. It shares the same-strength GPS receiver and should provide a quicker lock than most smartphones.
The phone is based on a custom Linux operating system and has a full HTML web browser as well as basic media playback. It supports native 3G and Wi-Fi for networking, and a 3-megapixel camera brings an expected geotagging feature to locate its shots as well as autofocusing.
Despite shipping over a year since the iPhone received basic GPS and three months after full turn-by-turn, the nüvifone will cost $299 only after a $100 mail-in rebate as well as signing a two-year contract. It arrives at retail on October 4th.
Garmin was originally to be one of the first smartphone designers with a phone built from the ground up for GPS and was originally set to launch by mid-2008, or just a few months after it was unveiled. However, it suffered numerous delays as Garmin's acknowledged inexperience with smartphones added time to the development and eventually led to a partnership with ASUS. Since then, most modern smartphones have had GPS and in many cases have had dedicated GPS apps that perform a similar role, albeit not always with the same feature set or flexibility as the G60. The phone has already been available for some weeks in Asia but faced additional hurdles for approval in the US.