Garmin made a surprise announcement last night of a new iPhone competitor. nuvifone (rhymes with "MovieFone"... coincidence?) has an impressive feature set, including:
Quad-band GSM mobile phone
3.5-inch touchscreen interface
HTML Web browser
Multi-network instant messaging
MMS media messaging
Still & video camera
Automatically geotags photo with the latitude and longitude reference of where the image was taken
MP3 and MPEG4/AAC player
Garmin Online service with constantly-updating information:
Google local search
Proximity, location based search (coffee shops near me)
Access to millions of geo-located landmark and sightseeing photographs available through Google's Panoramio picture sharing site
Best-in-breed GPS capabilities
Preloaded maps of North America, Eastern and Western Europe, or both
Turn-by-turn, voice-prompted directions
Speaks the names of the streets
"Where am I?" feature displays your latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and gas stations.
Find your car in an unfamiliar spot or crowded parking lot by automatically marking the position in which it was last removed from the vehicle mount.
nuvifone is based on Garmin's proprietary OS and according to Electronista the Google applications allow it to search for local businesses, check traffic patterns and weather. Photos (or videos) taken with the built-in camera are automatically geotagged for positioning in location-based services.
Garmin hasn't announced the price or carrier partner yet but expect details to follow shortly.
The nuvifone is the ultimate multi-tasker. Calls are easily initiated by tapping the "Call" button and selecting a name from the contact list or by using the on-screen keypad. When the user is trying to juggle talking on their phone while entering their vehicle to start a trip, the nuvifone makes the transition simple. When the nuvifone is docked onto the vehicle mount, it automatically turns on the GPS, activates the navigation menu, and enables hands-free calling so that the user never misses a beat in the conversation and is able to begin routing to their destination with ease.
Update 2: Garmin has a dedicated nuvifone page and has it listed as coming "Q3 2008." They also say "Specific details about pricing and sales partners will be announced in the future."
Update 3: Things that nuvifone doesn't have over iPhone (as least that we can tell this early):
iPhone slim, slim profile (nuvifone looks a little thicker in the press photos)
iPod (although it has a media player)
iTunes store (although they'll undoubtedly partner with someone)
Update 4: Engadget has hands-on pics of a nuvifone dummy side-by-side with an iPhone.[poll id=93]