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Garmin-Asus Readies First Android PND Phone

2/11/2010 02:04:36 PM Eastern

Olathe, Kan. - The latest two PND phones announced
by Garmin-Asus include the joint
venture's first Android-based model.

Both full-touch Nuviphone models, the Android-based A50 and the Windows Mobile 6.5.3-based M10, feature high-speed 7.2Mbps HSDPA (high speed download packet access) cellular technology, but only the A50 operates in U.S. 3G bands at 850/1900MHz. In U.S. bands, the M10 operates only in GSM/EDGE mode.

In the U.S.,
Garmin-Asus already offers the Linux-based
G60
touchscreen PND phone, currently available through AT&T for $99
after $100 rebate. A Windows Mobile 6.1-based M20 did not hit U.S. shores as
originally planned,

Garmin-Asus phones incorporate on-board maps,
points-of-interest (POI) data, and routing algorithm to function like a PND
(portable navigation device). Because maps and route-calculation software
reside on the device rather than on a cellular carrier's servers, the phones offer
several advantages over carrier-based navigation services. Consumers, for
example, don't have to wait for maps and route information to download over a
cellular network, and the phones can be used for navigation even when cellular
signal is lost.

The new models also add features not available on current Nuviphones,
a spokeswoman said. The new features include lane assist with junction view,
which guides drivers to the correct lane for an approaching turn and depicts
road signs. A highway mode informs
users of the next three exits ahead and highlights the exit that needs to be
taken. Also new is the A50's integration of Google's Street View with Garmin's
navigation technology. When consumers enter a destination, a picture of the
destination will appear on screen if the destination is in Google's Street View
database. The picture will reappear on arrival.

Like the current model, the two new models feature onboard
POIs and cellular access to off-board POI data. One way to access off-board
information is via Google local search, and the other is by clicking on the
address appearing in an HTML Web site. Once clicked, the address turns into GPS
coordinates for navigation. Both also come with Garmin's dynamic-information
service, which uses cellular to deliver local gas prices, weather, traffic
information, traffic-camera locations, movie times, flight status and the like.

The Windows Mobile-based M10 features 3.5-inch WVGA
capacitive touchscreen, virtual QWERTY keyboard, 3D task manager to switch
easily between running applications, 4GB of flash memory, 1500mAh battery,
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, and ability to wirelessly sync with Microsoft Exchange
servers to access that contacts, calendars and email. Other features include
5-megapixel geo-tagging camera and access to Facebook and Picasa,

The Android-based A50 features 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive
touchscreen, virtual QWERTY keyboard, 4GB of flash memory, MicroSD card slot,
accelerometer, on-device wireless sync with Microsoft Exchange server, and
3-megapixel geo-tagging auto-focus camera. The A50 also receives location
information from overlapping satellite-, network- and terrestrial-based
sources.

Both models are ready for pedestrian or automotive
navigation out of the box and include Garmin car mount and vehicle power cable.