updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed April 21, 2010
Garminfone adapts A50 to T-Mobile USA
Garmin today unveiled its first true American smartphone today by launching the Garminfone with T-Mobile. The adaptation of the nuvifone A50 runs Android rather than the original nuvifone's feature phone OS and gives it the full Google OS while layering on Garmin's traditional GPS navigation interface. Like a nuvi, it provides full spoken turn-by-turn directions and comes with a dash mount.
Unlike the A50, the Garminfone adds an Android version Voice Studio, which like on dedicated units lets drivers record their own voice directions if they don't like the official samples. Google Maps is still onboard for navigation outside of Garmin's own app.
As a phone, Garmin's entry occupies the lower mid-range with a three-megapixel camera, native T-Mobile 3G and Wi-Fi. Built-in storage hasn't been mentioned but should be enough to carry offline maps in addition to the usual app and media storage.
T-Mobile won't officially commit to a price or to a release window beyond the spring. A recent leak has pinpointed a possible May 5th launch.
Garmin is a relatively new entrant on to the phone scene but has tried to make an initially deep impact. It famously tried to launch the nuvifone in early 2008 as a direct rival to the iPhone, but after repeated delays only put the phone out in the US late last year. Releases in between have been cautious and have largely been limited to Windows Mobile-based phones in southeast Asia.