Garmin nuvifone ... hmmm, interesting

Summary:I knew that Apple's iPhone would stir up some much needed innovation in the cellphone arena, but I'm surprised to see Garmin, a company usually known for GPS receivers, enter the phone market in such an aggressive way.

I knew that Apple's iPhone would stir up some much needed innovation in the cellphone arena, but I'm surprised to see Garmin, a company usually known for GPS receivers, enter the phone market in such an aggressive way.

Garmin nuvifone Â… hmmm, interesting
The Garmin nuvifone is a lot of things that the iPhone isn't - it's a GPS receiver, it's 3G, it can geo-tag photos, it offers MMS and instant messaging, it has an in-built video camera.  But then again, unlike the iPhone, the nuvifone won't be out until Q3 and doesn't have the Apple logo on the case.  These two points alone are a problem (and many would argue that the logo means more than availability).

What struck me about the nuvifone as soon as I saw it was the interface - it looked so familiar.  Why?  Because it's a similar interface to that on the TomTom.  I can connect my TomTom 920 to my cellphone and control it when on the move using

Garmin nuvifone Â… hmmm, interesting
Bluetooth.  It's not as elegant as an all-in-one device, but it sure beats messing about with Bluetooth headsets and voice-dialing when trying to keep your mind on the road.  The interface of the nuvifone is remarkably similar - there's no way that the buttons and icons are going to be as fiddly as those that you see on the iPhone because a chunky interface is vital to being able to use the device while in your vehicle (I've spoken before as to how fiddly the iPod touch is to use).  I've used a number of Garmin GPS receivers over the years and one thing that you can be guaranteed of is a rock-solid, zero mystery meat, and easy to use interface.

Garmin nuvifone Â… hmmm, interesting
But what everyone wants to know is how the nuvifone will affect the iPhone.  Well, I doubt that it's meant to compete directly with the iPhone.  Garmin specialized in mobile technology, and increasingly, in-car technology, and the nuvifone looks like a natural evolution of this idea.  People are already willing to pay big money for in-car GPS receivers so a receiver that combines a cellphone is logical.  For people on the move a lot, the nuvifone has a number of advantages over the iPhone - two of these advantages being
Garmin nuvifone Â… hmmm, interesting
that it'll come with a decent vehicle mount and car cord. 

There are still a lot of unknowns - price, battery life, carrier, whether it's a locked system or an open one ...

It's far too early to call the nuvifone and iPhone killer.

Thoughts?

Topics: Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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