Garmin intends to release its first Android handset in 2H 2009

By on December 22, 2008 at 11:11 AM.

Garmin intends to release its first Android handset in 2H 2009

Big news today from everyone’s favorite nav company turned mobile handset company turned “will it ever release its phone?!” company. We all know Garmin joined the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) earlier this year but word is now trickling around the web pointing to some pretty lofty aspirations in terms of the timing for the company’s virgin Android offering. From Tony An, Garmin’s Asia Pacific Marketing Director:

Garmin will launch Nuvifone, its first GPS-enabled handset, in the Taiwan market in the second quarter of 2009, An noted. Garmin also plans to launch self-developed Android handsets in the second half of 2009, with production to be outsourced

Wow. Garmin looks to be positioning itself as a potential player in the mobile market – if it can ever manage to push a handset out the door, that is. Asus will almost certainly be responsible for production of Garmin’s Android phone as it is contracted to build the Nuvifone and it joined the OHA on the very same day as Garmin. With both Mio and Garmin looking to branch out into mobiles and Dash ditching its stand-alone units, we have to wonder if dedicated navigation boxes will soon be a thing of the past. Either way, Mio and Garmin are currently in a race to release what will likely be very similar handsets and to the victor may go the spoils. Either way, we’ll be looking forward to more info on Garmin’s first Android offering regardless of when it might actually come to market. 2H 2009? We might be lucky if we see the Nuvifone by then.

[Via Phandroid]

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FCC blesses Garmin Nuvifone

By on December 15, 2008 at 1:55 PM.

FCC blesses Garmin Nuvifone

Sure it might have been delayed but at least the FCC was kind enough to remind us that the Garmin Nuvifone does in fact still exist. The good news is that Garmin’s sexy nav-centric handset is likely still on track for a belated 1H 2009 release in the US and it does indeed don the 850 and 1900 MHz WCDMA bands needed for some 3.5G love via AT&T. The bad news, for Garmin at least, is that it may soon find itself in a race with Mio and the first to bring its handset to market will likely garner the most interest from consumers, barring a possible carrier contract. Mio announced earlier this month that it too would be bringing a handset to market in Q1 of the coming year that will be direct competition to the Nuvifone. While we haven’t yet seen live images of Mio’s upcoming offering, the company certianly knows what it’s up against and is aiming to deliver. As such, odds are good that Garmin is doing everything in its power to push the Nuvifone out as soon as possible. Good luck to both companies – we just want hot new phones.

[Via Engadget]

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Open Handset Alliance welcomes 14 new companies

By on December 9, 2008 at 3:38 PM.

Open Handset Alliance welcomes 14 new companies

With the way technology and software have been moving, nothing beats open source anything. From open source browsers to operating systems, it seems the trend is going to become the standard very soon. So, the Open Handset Alliance has just announced the addition of 14 new members to its growing community. Powered by the sacred Google-juice, Android seems to be the platform or mobile OS of choice these days, and why wouldn’t it be given its open source goodness? In addition to those already part of the alliance, AKM Semiconductor Inc., ARM, ASUSTek Computer Inc., Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International Inc., Huawei Technologies, Omron Software Co. Ltd, Softbank Mobile Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba and Vodafone are jumping on the bandwagon. The more the merrier indeed as all of these companies will now be actively developing handsets, hardware and other goodies powered by the Android OS. The G1 is getting lonely fellas, get moving!

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Garmin Nuvifone Hits a Few Speed Bumps

By on July 31, 2008 at 10:59 AM.

Garmin Nuvifone Hits a Few Speed Bumps

If you were wondering whether or not dealing with cellular carriers really is the nightmare many make it out to be, ask Garmin. The navigation expert did a fantastic job of straying from its safety zone and building a good amount of hype surrounding its upcoming virgin entry into the handset game. No the handset itself isn’t revolutionary per se, but it will run Garmin’s own OS and it will surely provide one of the best mobile navigation experiences available; once it’s released that is. Initially intended to come to market in the second half of this year, Garmin has announced it will delay Nuvifone’s release until some time in 1H 2009. In a statement from Garmin, the company say it “found that meeting some of the carrier specific requirements will take longer than anticipated.” Now there’s an understatement if we’ve ever seen one. There is no word as to the specific requirements Garmin is having difficulties with meeting, nor is there any indication as to when it expects to have these issues resolved. Here’s to hoping that Garmin can sort its carrier issues sooner rather than later so we can get our hands on this 3.5 inch screen-sporting, HSDPA-rocking navigator ASAP.

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OQO + Garmin GPS solution review

By on May 29, 2008 at 10:42 AM.

OQO + Garmin GPS solution review

You might have seen us post something on the new Garmin GPS solution for the OQO model 02. It’s a great concept and we’ve had the opportunity of reviewing it recently. If you buy the whole package, which is the car mount for the actual OQO and the Garmin USB GPS device, you’d have what we have. While it’s nice in theory, you can see from the above video what sort of trouble we ran into. If you totally want to skip the video, these are our issues with the package:

  • To get an initial satellite lock took around 20 minutes. Open sky, clear and sunny day
  • The mount for the OQO covers the speakers so you can’t hear didly squat from the GPS software
  • When trying to enter an address, it actually made us write in the city, street name, and street number with the friggin’ pen! (Yes, as we later found out you can use the hardware keyboard, but there should totally be a huge on-screen keyboard)
  • The suction cups that comes with the GPS unit totally suck. Actually, they don’t suck. They fall off everywhere
  • This isn’t a fault of the GPS unit or the OQO really, but since the device has an active touch screen, you can’t use your fingers at all to tap different menu items. This is a royal pain in the ass since you either have to use the included tablet pen, or fiddle around with the trackstick mouse.
  • This is quite possibly the hardest setup to use while driving. We know, you shouldn’t use it while driving, but let’s be honest, are you really pulling over to the shoulder to enter in an address?
Has anyone out there given this a go? We want to like it, we do, but practically, we don’t think this works. 
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OQO now offering customized GPS unit

By on May 20, 2008 at 5:26 PM.

OQO now offering customized GPS unit

The OQO 02 has always seemed like the perfect match for purpose-built GPS unit. Thanks to Garmin, that dream is now a reality. The two companies have combined forces to bring a special OQO-edition Garmin GPS unit. The bundle includes a Garmin Mobile PC adapter, RAM car mount, and a car/airplane power adapter. Garmin apparently customized the user interface to match the OQO UI. We haven’t had a chance to test it just yet, but we’re pretty confident that both companies are capable of pulling this off successfully. It’s available now for $237. Hit the link for more info!

UPDATE: The software and GPS receiver is only $99. The whole set of accessories with mount, charger, and extra fun stuff is $237.

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