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Garmin Debuts Nuvi Smartphone

1/31/2008 10:20:00 AM Eastern

New York — Garmin International announced its entrance into the mobile phone market with the Nüvifone, which it claims is the first 3.5G smartphone to include full navigation, Internet browsing and messaging in an all-in-one format.

The device is expected to be available in the third quarter. It has a 3.5-inch screen with a similar opening menu to Garmin’s personal navigation devices (PNDs), showing main icons “Call,” “Search” and “View Map”

When the Nüvifone is docked onto the vehicle mount, it automatically turns on the GPS, activates the navigation menu and enables hands-free calling. It includes a Google local search function allowing the user to search for locations like “coffee shops” and then see a Web-based rating of the shops and choose one to navigate to. The Nüvifone also includes, email, text and instant messaging as well as Web browsing.

The device has preloaded maps of North America and Europe and announces the street names for upcoming turns. It includes the company’s “Where am I?” feature which lets users touch the screen to display exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and gas stations. Users can also bookmark their position after parking and take the device with them to find their car later.

Other features include built-in camera with geotagging of photos (with latitude and longitude position so users can navigate to that site), built-in video camera, MP3 player and MPEG-4/AAC capability.

Pricing and carrier partners will be announced later.

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