Garmin and AsusTek Computer announced plans to release a line of Nuvifone GPS/smartphones this year, the first two of which will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 16–19.
The line will be called the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone series and will focus on location based services (LBS).
The first Nuvifone to be released this half is the product of a contract manufacturing relationship where Garmin hired Asus as an original device manufacturer.
Subsequent phones due this year are the result of a strategic alliance between the two companies.
The first phone will be called the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60. Its core capabilities will include LBS functions, such as a Ciao! application that combines various social-networking services so users on one service can share their location and social information with users on another service.
The G60 will offer the same turn-by-turn navigation and preloaded maps found on high-end Garmin personal navigation devices said Garmin. It will also feature Internet searches for points of interest and will be based on a Linux operating system.
Garmin has announced that it is committed to producing an Android phone and some future Nuvifones are expected to be based on the Android platform.
On a conference call today, Garmin president and COO Cliff Pemble said the companies expect to offer mixed platforms going forward.
Further details on the G60 and a second Nuvifone will be announced at Mobile World Congress.
Garmin chairman and CEO Dr. Min Kao said that Asus’ expertise in smartphones will give Garmin a platform “from which we will innovate and introduce the world to the benefits of LBS-centric mobile phones.”