T-Mobile announces Google Android-based Garminfone

T-Mobile continues to add to their Google Android arsenal with the GPS navigation focused Garminfone launching this spring. If navigation is your primary need, then you may want to take a look at this device.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

You have probably heard of the Garmin nuvifone G60 that never really seemed to take off on AT&T. Tonight T-Mobile USA announced the upcoming Garminfone GPS-focused smartphone that is powered by Android rather than a proprietary Garmin OS. It is centered heavily on the Garmin navigation experience and interface with the 3.5 inch display and 3G connectivity. I am glad to see they are rolling out a version of their device based on a popular smartphone platform, but it seems like this device may be a year late with other great T-Mobile Android devices like the myTouch 3G, Google Nexus One, Motorola CLIQ and XT, and Samsung Behold II. The Garminfone should be available in the next month or so, but no pricing has yet been made available.

The Garminfone is obviously focused on GPS navigation, but the newer Android devices have the excellent free Google Maps Navigation with TeleNav as another GPS application option on many of these devices so I am personally not sold on the value of the device. I understand it may be running Google Android version 1.6 too, rather than the latest 2.1 version of Android. Here are some quotes from the press release related to the Garminfone:

  • Integrated Navigation + Smartphone Experience: Garminfone delivers navigation capabilities beyond what other smartphones and standalone navigation devices provide. Customers can navigate to an address simply by clicking on it from a text message or e-mail, contact, calendar appointment, or web page. Garminfone can even remember where you are parked and navigate you back to your car. The 3-megapixel camera with autofocus automatically geotags images so you can navigate back to where your family vacation photos were taken, e-mail geo-tagged images to friends and family members, or post geo-tagged pictures on the Web for others to enjoy. Helpful Garmin travel applications such as dynamic, real-time traffic; weather local events; movie listings; and gas prices are pre-installed and easy to access and use.

  • Garmin Navigation: Driving, walking and public transportation navigation with voice and on-screen directions and automatic re-routing are deeply integrated into the smartphone features of Garminfone to simplify navigating your daily life. On-board North American maps offer fast and reliable directions — whether in or out of cell phone coverage — and multiple overlapping positioning technologies ensure Garminfone customers have one of the best location and navigation experiences a smartphone can offer. In addition, Garminfone utilizes text-to-speech technology to speak street names, and the screen automatically switches between day and night modes for easier viewing while driving.

  • Garmin Voice Studio: Garminfone is the first to feature Garmin Voice Studio, an Android application, which allows customers to record and share custom voice directions from family and friends.

You will find a dashboard mount and car charger in the retail package so it will give buyers a good out-of-the box GPS navigation solution. The only other specification we know about is the 3 megapixel autofocus camera so there are many more details pending.

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