It’s perfectly expected that firms like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and HTC would consider making a handset to challenge the Apple iPhone, but I never thought that Garmin would be throwing its name in the hat. But they have and it’s awesome. Dubbed the Garmin nuvifone, this is the first mobile phone created by the company we know better for portable GPS navigation.
As such, the form factor reminds me a little too much of something that I’d stick on my windshield rather than something that I’d stick on my ear. Like much of the nuvi line, the Garmin nuvifone comes equipped with a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, but make no mistake. This is still a phone (but Garmin knows where they’re coming from). The main menu shows three primary icons: Call, Search, and View Map.
The features are totally drool-worthy. Cellular radios include both GSM and high-speed HSDPA, and they get topped off with an internet browser, data connectivity, personal navigation, Google-powered online services, email, text, IM, camera with video, and a music/video player.
Even though this looks like a serious prototype, Garmin is saying the nuvifone will be ready for market by Q3 2008. This is convergence in a whole new way.