On Tuesday night, T-Mobile revealed the identity of its newest Google Android device and it's not exactly the device we were expecting to see.
Instead of the rumored T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide, the carrier introduced the Garminfone, a rebranded version of the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50, which was first announced at Mobile World Congress 2010. At that time, Garmin said it did not know whether the GPS-enabled smartphone would make it to North America, but T-Mobile will, in fact, be the first to launch the device worldwide when it comes out later this spring.
With Garmin behind the wheel, obviously navigation will play a big role. The Garminfone will offer many of the features found on the company's standalone GPS devices, including preloaded maps of North America, a database of nearly 6 million points of interest, and voice-guided navigation with text-to-speech directions. You'll also get lane guidance, junction view, and a new Android app called Garmin Voice Studio, which lets users record and share voice directions with friends and family. The phone's GPS capabilities can also be used to locate nearby gas prices, restaurants and movie times, real-time traffic, and weather data.
As a phone, the Garminfone sports a 3.5-inch capacitive touch screen and measures 4.57 inches tall by 2.45 inches wide by 0.51 inch thick. It will run Android 1.6 at launch, but T-Mobile was quick to point out that the phone is capable of over-the-air updates. You'll get the standard Android apps--Gmail, Google Talk, YouTube, Android Market, and so forth--but the device will sport Garmin's own user interface.
Some other quick specs to check off the list: 3G, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, HTML Web browser with pinch-to-zoom support, and a 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and digital zoom.
Pricing was not announced at this time, though you can find more details from T-Mobile's Web site. We'll be honest: we were really apprehensive about the Nuvifone A50 after the fiasco that was the Garmin Nuvifone G60, but after some hands-on time with the smartphone at MWC 2010, we're cautiously optimistic. Definitely looking forward to spending more quality time with the Garminfone when we get one in for review.