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Garmin Announces nuvifone… Bitch Say What?

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 5:56PM EST

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In what wasn’t the biggest surprise in recent history, Garmin announced yesterday that it intends to release its first GSM phone in Q3 of this year. Dubbed nuvifone (no, not moviefone), the virgin Garmin offering is a sleek touchscreen device with an all-too-familiar form factor. Garmin’s own OS will drive the nuvifone and specs are very limited for the time being. Of course it will pack high-quality navigation that is similar if not identical to the software found in current nuvi devices, and it will ship in the US with North American maps preloaded. Garmin scores serious points by stuffing HSDPA into the slender device; presumably 850/1900 for AT&T network compatibility. The 3.5″ touchscreen doesn’t hurt either. Other items noted in the announcement are integrated email and IM functionality, Google local search and support for Garmin online services such as traffic, weather, fuel prices and hotel discounts. The nuvifone will also include a video capture-capable camera and MP3 / MPEG4 / AAC support. The UI images that are available make it look, well, very plain. There appears to be plenty of empty white space on most of the screenshots which is good for visibility and bad for wow-ability. Then again, there is plenty of time between now and the end of the 3rd quarter so there’s no telling what the release version might look like. Pricing on the nuvifone was not covered during the announcement but we’ll update you with more info as soon as we have it. Truth be told, it looks pretty sweet. Garmin made an interesting choice by using their own OS however. We have to wonder how long it will be before we get some SDK action.


Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.