T-Mobile Prices Android Garminfone At $199

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Bellevue, Wash. - T-Mobile announced a $199 price tag and June availability for its previously announced Android-based portable navigation device (PND) phone, the Garminfone from Garmin-Asus.

  The price is contingent on two-year service contract and qualifying voice and data plan.

  The carrier also said the phone, the industry's first Android-based PND phone, would be available sometime in June through T-Mobile stores, the carrier's Web site and indirect dealers.

  The Garminfone offers driving, walking and public-transportation directions through voice and onscreen prompts, and it offers automatic re-routing, real-time traffic, weather, ETA and area gas prices. The device is also the first smartphone with Garmin Voice Studio, an Android application that lets users record and share custom voice directions.

  The phone, previously called the Nuvifone A50 by Garmin, combines a smartphone and a 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

Linux-based G60

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.

  Like traditional PNDs, PND phones incorporate onboard maps, points-of-interest 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.


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