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Hands-on (sort of) with the Garmin Nuvifone

CNET gets some brief quality time with the Garmin Nuvifone at GSMA 2008.

I saw it. I saw the coveted Garmin Nuvifone--well, through a glass bubble anyway. Garmin made the trek to Barcelona to showcase its first smartphone at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2008. The Nuvifone, which was introduced at an event in New York a couple of weeks ago, already has people buzzing and drawing comparisons to the Apple iPhone. So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw it at the Mobile Focus event the other night. Unfortunately, the only working model was sealed under a clear bubble. I was able to get my hands on a nonworking model to get a feel for the design, while CNET TV's Ariel Nunez got some footage of the main screen.

Superficially speaking, the iPhone doesn't have to worry about much. The Nuvifone has a nice, solid construction with a soft-touch finish. However, it is thicker and, from what we could see, the touchscreen and user interface doesn't quite have the flash and appeal of the iPhone. But hey, beauty only gets you so far, right? We'll be anxious to see how it performs when the Garmin Nuvifone becomes available in third quarter on 2008. For now, you can check out the First Look video (right) to get a closer look at the Nuvifone.