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Garmin-Asus Readies First Android PND Phone

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
and in the
U . S . AWS
band. In U.S.
bands, the M10
operates only

in the U.S.
hasn’t been announced,
the A50 is expected
to be available in Europe in
the first half, and the M10 is expected
to be available through carrier and
retail channels in Asia and Europe in
the first half, the company said. Both
models will debut at the Feb. 15-18 Mobile
World Congress in Barcelona.

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 f 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 fl ash
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.