The Garmin-Asus booth at Mobile World Congress 2009. The two companies recently formed an alliance to develop and distribute co-branded GPS-enabled smartphones to be known as the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone series.
The original Garmin Nuvifone, which was unveiled over a year ago, has now been rebranded as the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60. Unlike last year's GSMA, we actually got to see a working model of the G60. This is the smartphone's main screen. The Call, Search, and View Map menu options will be carried throughout the Nuvifone series.
The Nuvifone G60, as well as the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20, will come preloaded with maps and points of interest and will offer turn-by-turn voice-guided directions and automatic recalculation, just like Garmin's in-car GPS.
With Connected Services, you'll also be able to perform live searches. The Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60 features an HTML browser based on a Webkit platform and can connect via Wi-Fi or a cellular connection.
The Nuvifone G60 has a 3.5-inch, 272x480 WQVGA touch screen and a soft QWERTY keyboard. To enter a destination, you can manually enter an address, search for a POI, or use an address from your phone's contact list.
The Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60 is a quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900) handset that also supports tri-band HSDPA (850/1900/2100). The company has not announced whether the G60 will be offered by a carrier, though it did say it's in talks with service providers.
The Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20 is the second model in the Nuvifone series. It runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition, and features a 2.8-inch VGA touch screen with an accelerometer and onscreen QWERTY keyboard. The M20 will be offered in various colors and in two storage capacities: 4GB or 8GB.
The Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20 is a nice, compact handset. It measures 3.7 inches high by 2 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick. The screen looked really sharp and vibrant, though slightly on the smaller side at 2.8 inches.
The Garmin-Asus Nuvifones will ship with a new application called Ciao! that lets you see your friends' whereabouts by linking location-centric social networks and then showing friends' locations on a map. You'll then be able navigate to their locations from there.