The Garminfone has taken a long journey to hit a US carrier and now, finally, it's getting official. T-Mobile just announced that the Garminfone will be available later this Spring, and this "Garminfone" is a dead ringer for the Garmin-Asus nuvifone A50 we saw back at MWC. It only rocks Android 1.6 with a 600MHz processor, 3.5-inch display, 3-megapixel camera and your usual slew of connectivity options. So yeah, this Garminfone is happening. The question remains whether anyone would want a mid-level device that prioritizes GPS before everything else. For some reason, we're thinking no. [Garmin via engadget]

 
There are 7 comments

John-Paul says:

It could be useful for individuals who drive a lot...a portable OnStar with out the GM requirement. I agree though, would much prefer an Incredible for probably the same price, with Google Nav.

nickg1982 says:

It will be interesting to see what the price point is. I think there would be a market for this if it came in at $49 or $69. There is a large portion of the market (outside android central of course) that have a hard time paying $200 or more for a phone, even an *incredible one :)

dougm7 says:

This phone or a Garmin phone was prominently shown on the show Celebrity Apprentice this last episode. I thought that was odd not being officially launched in the states yet.

sjcea says:

HO HUM !!!! BORING

icebike says:

Hold on there guys...

If you've ever navigated with a smart phone and compared it to a Garmin you would realize there is no comparison, Garmin wins the navigation challenge hands down.

From the specs page at Garmin:

Garmin Navigation: Driving, walking and public transportation navigation with voice and on-screen directions and automatic re-routing are deeply integrated into the smartphone features of Garminfone to simplify navigating your daily life. On-board North American maps offer fast and reliable directions — whether in or out of cell phone coverage — and multiple overlapping positioning technologies ensure Garminfone customers have one of the best location and navigation experiences a smartphone can offer. In addition, Garminfone utilizes text-to-speech technology to speak street names.

First, all you city boys have to realize is that there are vast areas of the west with no cell coverage at all, or at best you get GPRS.

Onboard maps are absolutely key out here.

Check out the T-Mobile data coverage map and you can see onboard maps and Point of Interest databases have a huge advantage for that carrier.

Second, navigating strange big cities, spoken turn by turn directions are key. When you are unfamiliar with the traffic in the area, spoken directions like "Turn left onto Wilson Blvd, then keep RIGHT" are key to not missing your next turn because of tricky lane changes in traffic.

And having instant recalculation when you do miss a turn are also key. None of the built in nav apps except the expensive paid ones do this.

So this device and the cell plan it needs aren't going into every car. But there is still a market for this device among those who travel a lot (perhaps with an expense account).

Blueriver says:

I don't know how much would that be, but Droid has better spec, bigger screen, higher OS version, etc, at CHEAPER price (You can get Droid for almost free now with 2 year contract)

And that comes with free Google Navigation.

I don't know how much would A50 be, but even if it comes for free with 2 year contract, I think Droid is far better choice.

Ah, and one thing.
You can still BUY onboard navigation software for Droid, although it's not Google Nav.

i played with this phone today