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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.

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