Asustek confirmed Monday that the Garmin-ASUS joint venture it entered into with GPS giant Garmin two years ago will end early next year. The confirmation comes following last week’s report that the unsuccessful venture would come to an end when the companies’ deal expires in January 2011. With the popularity of navigation apps for smartphones exploding over the past few years, the joint venture seemingly started as an experiment that posed a single question: are consumers interested in a product that is a personal navigation device first and a smartphone second? The answer, at least in this case, is no. Further details on the split will be provided Tuesday, though initial reports suggest that the two companies will continue to work together in some capacity after their current deal terminates. More →
It was all but written in the stars, and now it is also written in the Chinese paper Economic Daily — Garmin will soon be un-ASUS’d and ASUS is losing its Garmin. The two companies will reportedly not be renewing a two-year contract that birthed such mediocre smartphones as the Nuvifone M20 and T-Mobile’s Garminfone. Truth be told, each of the aforementioned handsets provided a navigation experience that was well above average when it comes to phones, but a great integrated nav experience seemingly isn’t enough to seal the deal with smartphone-seeking end users. The joint venture that started with a bunch of question marks and exclamation points nearly two years ago will end with an ellipsis, however, as the two companies will apparently continue working together in some capacity; Garmin will provide navigation software for future ASUS-branded handsets. We would love to say something like, “It was fun while it lasted,” but we imagine the entire ordeal was pretty stressful for everyone involved.
Any smartphone worth a darn has GPS capabilities, but some are more adept at finding their way than others. After getting a reputation for a company that takes it sweet-ass time launching a handset, Garmin-ASUS today announced two new handsets in the nüvifone A50 and nüvifone M10. First up is the A50. An Android device with a 3.5″ HVGA touchscreen display, 3 megapixel camera, HSDPA connectivity, 4GB of internal memory and accelerometer, the A50 is said to be one heck of a pathfinder thanks in part to its e-compass and GPS chipset that draws location signals from satellites as well as network and terrestrial sources. Add in not apps like Google Maps and cityXplorer but Garmin’s very own pre-loaded turn-by-turn navigation software and one no longer has any excuses for getting lost while driving to the in-laws new country cottage. Moving on we have the M10. Running Windows Mobile 6.5.3, it isn’t as spec’d out as the A50 GPS wise, but it still can take on any other smartphone and even many dedicated GPS units with one hand tied behind its back. Physical characteristics include a 3.5″ WVGA display (resistive), Wi-Fi and HSDPA radios, 512MB of RAM and ROM and 4GB of in-built memory. Consumers and procrastinators should note each handset features support for just about every location-based and social media service under the sun, while corporate types will be pleased to note that Microsoft Exchange is fully by both phones. And yes, the A50 does have a multi-touch WebKit browser. Barring any unexpected delays, both devices will go on sale by the end of Q2. More →
Well boys and girls, it looks like the G60 might not be vaporware here in the US after all. An official announcement finally puts the G60 on AT&T store shelves this coming Sunday for $299.99 on a 2-year contract after a $100 mail-in rebate. That might seem a bit high at first, but considering there’s no subscription fee required for navigation it’s really not a bad deal. After all, it’ll cost you the same amount or more to score an iPhone 3GS with a solid non-subscription nav app. Regardless — the question of the hour is… After all this time, is anyone still interested in this puppy or has that ship already sailed?
While many of you spent last night watching grown men pummel one another into submission, we here at BGR put in some over time so we could get to the bottom of the pricing of some upcoming AT&T smartphones. And just as you would expect, we’ve come through. First off we have two HTC offerings, the Tilt2 (Touch Pro2) and Pure (Touch Diamond2). On contract and after applying $50 MIRs, we’ve heard the Tilt2 will be $299.99 while the Pure will go for $199.99. Off contract, you’re looking at $499.99 and $349.99 respectively. Second, we have the Garmin-ASUS nüvifone G60 which will finally ditch its North American vaporware status when it hits retail shelves with the 2-year price of $299.99 after a $100 MIR. Off contract, the G60 will command $549.99, a princely sum, indeed. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to confirm the AT&T Pure or nüvifone G60 release dates, but we do have a pretty accurate idea on the Tilt 2. Still, we’d expect to see all three of these devices before the end of October based upon the fact that this is when these prices are effective until.
UPDATE: We’ve just been sent a photo of the pricing for the AT&T Pure which shows it actually going for $149.99 with a two-year agreement.
One of our oh so trusty ninjas just hit us up with a fantastic-looking pre-launch list for AT&T. These phones listed are not launched yet but are reportedly coming soon. Just remember that coming soon could mean anywhere from two weeks to three months but they’re in the pipeline and now officially confirmed to hit AT&T. These include:
- BlackBerry 9700 in charcoal
- Garmin Nuvifone G60
- HTC Tilt 2, HTC Tilt 2 without camera
- HTC Pure (believe it’s the HTC Snap)
If we’re missing a couple on the list that you guys notice are unreleased handsets on AT&T, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it in!
It was a simpler time. The economy was the last thing on most people’s minds, Dane Cook was just a weird annoying guy from Waiting, Galvatron ruled over our comments section with an iron fist… And Garmin announced that it would enter the wireless arena with the soon-to-be released nuvifone. A lot has changed since then but one thing has remained constant over this historic 18-month period — no nuvifone. Believe it or not however, that might actually change in the near future. Despite having a bit of trouble spelling nuvifone, TWICE reports that Garmin is “getting very close” to a carrier launch here in the US. Why the massive delays? Garmin president and COO Cliff Pemble:
Originally we thought we’d launch the phone into the open market, but because of the strong interest we had from carriers, we chose to focus on a carrier-centric launch and meeting carrier requirements is a lot of work.
Yeah if Garmin thought working with carriers was easy, the company was definitely in for a rude awakening. The June/July time frame does jibe with what Reuters reported back in April so it’s looking like this little guy may actually see the light of day. We shall see.
[Via GPS Tracklog]
So much for June. During a conference call with analysts last week, Garmin President and COO Cliff Pemble confessed that the nuvifone G60 will be delayed due to technical issues. Stating that creating a smartphone such as the nuvifone G60 is “complicated” and that “bringing one to market that’s built totally from the ground up on a custom Linux platform is not an easy task,” is somewhat of a valid excuse, but we mean c’mon — this handset was announced over 15 months ago and still hasn’t seen the light of day. And you know what that led to? Garmin-ASUS pimping the G60 like it was brand new because of their “strategic alliance”, which so far has amounted to nothing more than vaporware and lots of it. The nuvifone G60 is now slated for a release sometime in 2H09 meaning that Absolutely. No. One. Will. Care.
[Via PMP Today]
It may have taken a year and a half and a second official announcement but it looks like we may finally have word on when the Garmin-ASUS nuvifone is set to hit the streets. Of course we still don’t have any official pricing info or an exact launch date, but a Reuters article from this morning places the nuvifone G60 on store shelves in June. As for which store shelves the G60 will land on, it’s still looking like AT&T is where the smart money is though nothing has been confirmed. The article cites “a source with direct knowledge of the project” in stating that ASUS will issue its first LiMo-powered handset in June. As the M20 runs Windows Mobile it’s a safe bet to presume we’re talking about the G60 here. An AT&T-subsidized, LiMo-fueled, 3G-rocking navigation beast… We want it.
[Via GPS Tracklog]
Garmin and Asus took advantage of Mobile World Congress back in February to announce the second nuvifone-branded handset that will reach market — the nuvifone M20. Despite the fact that the G60 has yet to hit store shelves, Garmin and Asus are seemingly anxious to display the fruits of their joint handset efforts and hey, were not going to complain. The M20 is tiiiiiiiny. Not so tiny that the duo couldn’t stuff a nice bright 2.8-inch VGA (640×480) touchscreen in there, but definitely small compared to other similarly-styled phones. As you would imagine, it’s all about navigation. Garmin uses an exclusive customized version of its GPS navigation software on its handsets — think of it as Garmin Mobile XT but tweaked and fully integrated into the OS. The OS on this little guy by the way, is Windows Mobile 6.1. We found that a bit odd considering Garmin whipped up its own Linux-based OS for the G60 but such is life. Garmin and Asus are actually planning to use a variety of different OSes for their devices, including Android. But we digress.
The way navigation is implemented in the M20 is awesome. Example: the M20 has a presence app that will display a list of all of your buddies. Select a buddy and his or her position will be plotted on a map. Another poke or two and you’re off, navigating to his or her location with Garmin’s great turn by turn nav app. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of course, as Garmin has really gone through and tied its navigation capabilities into the OS wherever appropriate and convenient. If you’re constantly on the go, the M20 is certainly a handset you should be on the lookout for when it drops sometime before Q2 is out. Hit the jump for more images of this little nav powerhouse all dressed up in yellow.
Garmin and ASUS have just announced that they’ve entered into a strategic alliance and have subsequently re-branded the Garmin nuvifone as the nuvifone G60. What’s more is that both companies have promised to deliver several devices in 2009 with another device slated to make a charming pirouette entrance at Mobile World Congress. With the entire nuvifone lineup obviously very navigation oriented, the million dollar question is what OS will the lineup will be running. Apparently a ASUS chairman said at today’s press conference that it has yet to decide which OS to use with the G60 and that “[ASUS has] expertise in WinMo, Linux and Android, but we believe the software is more important than the OS.” While the aforementioned statement seems on the surface to be an example of extravagant exaggeration, we suppose that there is some truth to it as the people who are going to be picking up a G60 aren’t going to be doing so because of whatever OS it ships with. Now if you have a good memory for these kind of things you’ll recall that it wasn’t too long ago that we though the G60 would for sure be shipping with Android based upon statements from Garmin’s Asian Pacific Marketing Director, but then again companies obviously reserve the right to change their minds at any time. Expect to see the G60 out by the end of this quarter – a daunting task considering it’s still OSless…
In a presumably final sneak peek before CES, Garmin has posted a gallery of screenshots of the upcoming Nuvifone interface. Included in the gallery is a look at the home screen, web browser, navigation, email, calendar, camera, geotagging support and more. Hopefully this will whet your appetite for the Nuvifone until we can get a closer look at the handset during CES 2009. Hit the jump for more Nuvifone images than you can bear
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.