Garmin, the company that has kept many people from winding up in a cornfield when they were just trying to find a good restaurant, has taken its GPS navigation products a step further with the Nuvifone. This 3.5G smartphone runs on Garmin’s own operating system and includes a Web browser, e-mail capabilities, Bluetooth, a built-in camera/camcorder, and of course GPS. The Nuvifone has a 3.5-inch LCD display with full touchscreen support, and it automatically turns on the GPS, activates the navigation menu, and enables hands-free calling when it is docked onto the vehicle mount.
As for its navigation features, the Nuvifone includes preloaded maps of North America and points of interest, as well as a Google local search function with Web-based ratings of local shops. It also provides turn-by-turn voice directions and Garmin’s “Where am I?” feature, which displays the nearest address and intersection, helps you find the closest hospitals, police stations, and gas stations, and even displays your exact latitude and longitude coordinates.
According to Garmin president and COO Cliff Pemble, “This is the breakthrough product that cell phone and GPS users around the world have been longing for—a single device that does it all.” It will be hard to argue with Mr. Pemble if the Nuvifone performs as billed, but we’ll have to wait until the third quarter of this year to find out. That’s when Nuvifone is expected to make its debut. –by Graham W.