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Pharos Launches All-In-One Phone

Pharos, the supplier of navigation software and portable navigation devices (PNDs), is launching its first cellular handset, which combines a GPS PND, portable media player (PMP) and touch-screen PDA based on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition.

The 5.2-ounce GPS Phone will be shipped unlocked so consumers can insert their existing carrier’s SIM card. The $699-suggested device will be available at national retail outlets beginning this month.

Like a traditional handheld GPS device, the GPS phone features a large color screen, this one a 2.8-inch touch screen to view TeleAtlas maps and turn-by-turn driving instructions, which are also voice-prompted. It ships preloaded with North American roadmaps and points-of-interest (POI) database so that users can navigate even when they’re out of cellular range. Maps and POI data can be updated by connecting to a Pharos server via the phone’s built-in Wi-Fi or via cellular.

The GPS software provides navigation guidance with voice-prompted, turn-by-turn driving instructions, multi-stop routing and automatic re-routing when off route. In addition, the GPS and PDA functions are integrated so that users can navigate to their Outlook Contacts with just a few taps.

The quadband 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz world phone features high-speed EGDE data, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth. Other features include 2-megapixel camera, FM radio and Windows Media Player.

GPS Phone customers also receive a three-month trial subscription to the company’s Smart Navigator services, which offers additional POI and real-time traffic information for download. After three months, the service costs $7 per month, $18 for three months or $66 per year.