Garmin-ASUS unveil two nüvifone

Car centric LBS experience



Garmin-ASUS unveil two nüvifone
Garmin and ASUS today announced the Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20, a Smartphone with a Windows Mobile operating system and offered a bit more detail about the previously announced nüvifone G60. Both products will be officially presented next week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The nüvifone M20 is powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and combines a dual-band 3.5G/tri-band GSM phone with Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth. It has a 2.8 inch display with VGA (640x480) resolution. The nüvifone G60 has a 3.55 inch display, 3.5G and Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in accelerometer and is running on an unspecified operating system (expected to be Linux).

These phones are said to have “the navigation capability of a premium Garmin nüvi sat nav, and comes with preloaded maps and points of interest (POIs) for North America, Eastern and Western Europe, or other regions. […] Navigation functions are linked to frequently used applications such as calendar, contacts, email, internet applications and more”, explained the press release from Garmin-ASUS.

Garmin-ASUS unveil two nüvifone
The phone features also “Connected Services”, a suite of online applications and dynamic content, including real-time traffic information, White Pages, weather, flight status, local events, and movie times.

The nüvifone product line also includes “Ciao!”, presented as “a ground-breaking LBS application that helps users stay up to date on their friends’ whereabouts and status by linking numerous location-centric social networks. Through Ciao!, nüvifone users will see their friends’ location on a map and then be able to navigate to that location with ease. Nüvifone users can also choose to have the nüvifone automatically update their social network location information”. At this stage Garmin and ASUS are not giving more details about which social network they will enable on Ciao!, even if we already know from their partnership announced last year that GyPSii will be among them.

Garmin-ASUS unveil two nüvifone
Car centric LBS experience
An important point to be noticed is that Garmin and ASUS are positioning their range of Smartphones as car centric devices. The focus is made on nüvi-like navigation, car cradle, traffic information, nearest gas station etc… rather than pedestrian navigation or indoor positioning. It is clear that for in-car navigation nüvifone is likely to be become one of the best products available; however, it seems it does limit a bit the market addressed by Garmin and ASUS.

To make it a fully fledged LBS centric phone concept, Garmin and ASUS are still missing a dedicated pedestrian mapping software and fast and accurate indoor location capability (Cell-ID and Wi-Fi). Indeed, mainstream consumers will look after a seamless experience and expect their location to be immediate if they take pictures or want to make their location known to friends, even if they are indoor.

Thursday, February 12th 2009


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