Nuvifone M20, GPS phone from Garmin-ASUS is ready

Thursday, February 12, 2009, 12:57 by Tech Correspondent

Garmin-ASUS Nuvifone M20, a smartphone with GPS and telecom capability was launched today. The Garmin ASUS phone is the result of a joint product development by GPS satellite navigation major Garmin and Taiwanese Netbook maker ASUS.

Picture: Garmin ASUS Nuvifone M20 phone

Picture: Garmin ASUS Nuvifone M20 phone

Garmin Asus Nuvifone M20 comes with a mobile web-browser and high quality satellite navigation system. The M20 mobile phone comes loaded with a Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system.

It was initially expected that Garmin-ASUS will launch the new GPS phone on the Android platform by Google, or even Linux. However, the M20 phone was finally launched with the more popular Windows Mobile operating system.

The Garmin ASUS M20 Nuvifone will have its official launch at the Mobile World Congress starting in Barcelona soon. The price and features of the Garmin GPS phone M20 will be announced then.

The latest Nuvifone comes with dual-band 3.5G/tri-band GSM phone with Wi-Fi connectivity, push email, document viewing, multi-media capability, Bluetooth and Garmin sat nav. The phone also has HSDPA data capability. It has a 2.8 inch touch screen, slightly smaller than the usual touch phones which have a 3.2 inch screen. The M20 will come with a  car dock (vehicle mount) and different maps for use in the US and Europe. This will be the second Nuvifone from Garmin-ASUS. The first one was the G60 GPS phone.

The M20 Nuvifone comes with a 3 megapixel camera too which takes pictures and automatically geo-tags them with the built-in GPS and map data. The pricing, availability and further details of the M20 GPS phone are awaited. The Nuvifone M20 data can be synchronised with a computer so that phone books and emails are always available on a PC. The Nuvifone can support download speeds of up to 7.2 mbps, though there are hardly any mobile network operators offering that kind of data transfer.

Selecting a driving destination on the Nuvifone M20 smartphone is simple and requires limited user input. Users can search for a lcoation by typing in the specific name or address of an establishment, search by category, or navigate to addresses in the Garmin-ASUS M20′s contact database or on the web. The M20 gives turn-by-turn voice directions and automatically recalculates if a turn is missed. In addition, the portable GPS device includes quick access to online points of interest through internet enabled local search. The Nuvifone harnesses the power of the web and information about local merchants and attractions is continually updated, the company said in a press release.

However, despite its rich features and clean touch screen, the Nuvifone M20 may not come to India any time soon. Even if it does, as an imported piece, maps for use in India may have to be separately bought. GPS and location/vehicle tracking technologies are still in their emerging stages in India. Few companies selling mobile phones in India — Nokia is a notable exception — bother to preload their GPS phones with maps and related software, before selling it at mobile shops and company outlets.

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