The Garmin Nuvifone G60 didn't exactly knock our socks off, so when we heard Garmin-Asus would be showing off its new Nuvifone models, we were curious to see if the company had learned any lessons since its first go-round. From what we could see, the answer is yes.
Garmin-Asus has long said it would move its smartphones from a Linux-based platform to Google Android, and the company finally delivered on that promise. The A50 runs Android 1.6 but you wouldn't necessarily know it just by looking at it. Garmin-Asus has chosen to stick with its own skin. When you slide open a drawer from the right side, you will find some of the standard Android apps, such as Gmail, Google Talk, and the Android Market.
As a Garmin device, the A50 will ship with the company's navigation software, complete with maps, voice-guided navigation, and even more advanced tools like lane assist with junction view and connected services for weather, traffic, fuel prices, and so forth. The smartphone will ship with a car mount in the box.
Below the display, you get an array of touch-sensitive controls, including a Home shortcut, phone key, and back button. However, most of the time, you'll be using the A50's 3.5-inch HVGA touch screen.
The display is sharp and bright, and multitouch gestures are supported in the phone's WebKit browser. However, the built-in accelerometer seemed to be a bit slow, though not as temperamental as the one on the G60.