T-Mobile says it will add a new Android-based smartphone from Garmin that integrates its full complement of navigation services.
The new Garminfone will be available exclusively from T-Mobile later this spring, though the companies did not disclose pricing or a precise release date. This is the first phone from Garmin that incorporates Google’s Android operating system, after its original phone, the Nuvifone G60, was poorly received and judged difficult to use as a phone.
The new smartphone includes a 3.5-inch multi-touch screen, a 3-megapixel camera, music player, Wi-Fi and, by virtue of its Android operating system, has Google services such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps built in. But the smartphone also offers voice and on-screen turn-by-turn directions for walking, driving or taking public transportation, as well as access to real-time traffic and weather information and location-based gas prices.
In fitting with its navigation-centric design, the device comes with a car dashboard and window mount that also charges the phone, plus extras like access to flight status information and location-based search functions.
“The Garminfone brings together two increasingly popular devices in one state-of-the-art package, delivering a rich, unique experience that no other smartphone or standalone navigation device can offer," said George Harrison, VP of marketing product innovation for T-Mobile USA.
Google has built many similar navigation features into the latest 2.1 version of the Android operating system, including turn-by-turn directions now available on devices such as the Motorola Droid and HTC Nexus One. Garmin is banking on better integration of its navigation and location-based services, including:
The ability to navigate to an address by clicking on it from a text message or e-mail, contact, calendar appointment, or Web page, plus the ability to “remember” where a user has parked and navigate back to the parking spot.
The 3-megapixel autofocus camera automatically geotags images so users can navigate back to where photos were taken, e-mail geo-tagged images to friends and family members, or post geo-tagged pictures on the Web.
Pre-installed Garmin travel applications including dynamic, real-time traffic; weather; local events; movie listings; and gas prices.
Driving, walking and public transportation navigation with voice and on-screen directions and automatic re-routing integrated into the smartphone features.
On-board North American maps provide directions regardless of cell network coverage along with multiple overlapping positioning technologies.
Text-to-speech technology enables the Garminfone to speak street names.
The screen automatically switches between day and night modes for easier viewing while driving.
Garmin Voice Studio, an Android application, allows users to record and share custom voice directions from family and friends.
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