GPS-enabled phone or phone-enabled GPS?
The GPS functionality is core in this device with navigation, local search with Google, geotagging of pictures with the embedded camera and access to Google’s Panoramio, an online database of geo-tagged picture. This partnership with Google is seen as a strong point by the industry: “it is interesting to see Garmin partnering with Google. From a navigation software perspective it will give them access to unlimited points of interest, richer content”, said Chris Hazelton, Senior Analyst at IDC Research. For Peter Friedland, equity research analyst a Soleil group: “We believe it is very important for Garmin to figure out ways to work with Google because we ultimately believe Google will be a dominant player in the mobile market with location-based search”.
However, there is nothing revolutionary in this phone. We would have expected a bit more from a Garmin phone, something really unique that could push the fans of the brand to buy it. It could have been a “complete GPS experience” with some additional software such as outdoor navigation, sport and fitness monitoring or geocaching - all of it being already available from Garmin but in multiple products. Or even some “buddy finder” type of application linked with IM, Facebook, or any other popular Web 2.0 social website.
Launched less than two weeks before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Nuvifone might find there some strong competitors. According to rumors, Nokia could launch a N98 Smartphone that would feature a large touch screen, a seven megapixel camera, GPS and the in-house Nokia Maps navigation software. Sony Ericsson is also expected to refresh its Smartphone line-up with built-in GPS and Wayfinder navigation software. On a larger scale most of the Smartphone vendors are expected to launch their next devices with built-in GPS, Apple iPhone included.