Bellevue, Wash. - T-Mobile plans spring availability of the industry's first Android-based PND phone, which was announced earlier this year by
Pricing wasn't announced, but the carrier said the phone would be exclusive to it.
, previously called the Nuvifone A50 by Garmin, combines a smartphone and a portable navigation device (PND). It incorporates high-speed 7.2Mbps HSDPA, Wi-Fi, 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen, virtual QWERTY keyboard, 4GB of flash memory, MicroSD card slot, accelerometer and on-device wireless sync with Microsoft Exchange server. Its 3-megapixel geo-tagging camera enables drivers to navigate to locations appearing in geo-tagged images.
The device is said to offer features unavailable in traditional smartphones and traditional PNDs. For one thing, consumers can use the Garminfone to navigate to an address by clicking on it from a text message or email, contact, calendar appointment or Web page, Garmin said. The device also remembers where a person's car is parked and navigate the person back to the car, a spokesperson added.
The new model also comes with features not available on current Garmin-Asus PND phones in the U.S., including the
touchscreen PND phone available through AT&T. 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 Garminfone'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.
Other features include street-name announce, onboard points of interest (POI) 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 is turned 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.
Like traditional PNDs, PND phones incorporate onboard maps, POI data and routing algorithm. Because maps and route-calculation software reside on the device rather than on a cellular carrier's servers, however, PND 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 the cellular network, and the phones can be used for navigation even when cellular signal is lost.