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Navigation smartphone launches next week in Taiwan

Jul 24, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Garmin-Asus announced that its Linux-based Nuvifone G60 will go on sale in Taiwan on July 27. The G60 will debut in Singapore and Malaysia by the end of August, followed by a U.S./Europe roll-out, says Garmin-Asus.

The Garmin-Asus partnership has delivered some mixed messages about its navigation-oriented Nuvifone smartphones since its first device was pre-announced, then formally announced, in early February. In May, the alliance revealed that the Linux version of the Nuvifone, called the G60 (pictured below), would be delayed to the second half of the year.

In early June, we heard rumors that an Android version of the Nuvifone would arrive in the first quarter of 2009 to join the Linux and Windows Mobile versions. Later in June, according to CNET Asia, Garmin-Asus executives stated that the Android version had slipped to the end of this year. In addition, they were said to have commented, the G60 would be the last of the Linux devices to use the existing in-house Linux stack. Future Linux models will all use Android, CNET said.

The Nuvifone G60

The Nuvifone G60, billed as an all-in-one phone, web browsing device, and personal navigator, appears to have the same specs listed back in February (see below). Garmin did not mention the processor used in the G60, but for the Windows Mobile M20 version — said to be shipping in August in several Asian countries in August — it has listed a Qualcomm MSM7200A clocked at 528MHz.

The Nuvifone G60 offers accelerometers for automatic landscape/portrait display adjustment

(Click to enlarge)

The G60 measures 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.6 inches, and offers a 3.5-inch, accelerometer-driven touchscreen, with 480 x 272 pixel resolution. The Nuvifone G60 also ships with 128MB RAM and 4GB flash, says Garmin-Asus. The phone is said to provide quad-band GSM cellular, as well as "3.5G" HSDPA support with up to 3.6Mbps downlinks. Other listed features include 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, and a mini-USB 2.0 port.

While offering an impressive list of hardware features, the Nuvifone G60 is likely to stand out from HTC's Android phones, the Palm Pre, LiMo phones, and other smartphones with its sophisticated navigation features. These include turn-by-turn and voice-prompted navigation, preloaded maps, millions of points of interest, and search by street address, name, or category. There's also an interesting geo-tagging feature that makes use of the phone's three-megapixel camera. (For a full rundown on software features of the G60, see our earlier coverage, here.)

The one thing the G60 doesn't offer is an open platform for app development. The Linux implementation is a "closed platform," according to Garmin-Asus.

Specifications listed for the Nuvifone G60 include:

  • Processor — not stated
  • Memory — 128MB RAM
  • Flash — 4GB
  • Flash expansion - Micro SD, HC-capable, expandable up to 16GB
  • Display — 3.5-inch touchscreen with 272 x 480 resolution, 65K colors
  • Cellular — Quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM GSM/GPRS/Edge; Tri-band 850/1900/2100MHz HSDPA with 3.6Mbps downlinks
  • WiFi — 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth — Bluetooth 2.0 with AVRCP
  • GPS — GPS with Garmin Nuvi nav capabilities
  • USB — A2DP mini-USB 2.0
  • Accelerometers - supports automatic adjustment between landscape and portrait
  • Other connectivity — HFP (hands-free protocol); HSP; AVRCP; A2DP
  • Camera — 3-megapixel, with autofocus, geo-tagging
  • Audio — MP3 capable; 2.5mm headphone jack
  • Web and email — Webkit HTML browser; POP3, IMAP 4, IMAP idle, and SMTP email; SMS messaging
  • PIM — Outlook contacts and calendar
  • Document formats — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, JPG
  • Battery — 1100mAh removable lithium-ion battery; up to 4 hours talk time, 250 hours standby
  • Dimensions — 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.6 (112 x 58.1 x 14.6mm)
  • Weight, including battery — 4.8 oz (137 g)
  • Operating system - Linux (closed platform)

Stated Cliff Pemble, Garmin's president and COO, "Our lives are all about location. The nuvifone is designed around that premise and that's what differentiates it from the myriad of other phones on the market."

Stated Benson Lin, Asus VP and GM of Handheld Business Group, "Whether it's talking and navigating simultaneously, geotagging a photograph or navigating to an address on the web, the nuvifone seamlessly links navigation with other commonly performed activities."


The Nuvifone G60 will be available in Taiwan on July 27, and in Singapore and Malaysia by the end of August, via carriers and retail channels, says Garmin-Asus. Pricing plans may differ depending on country and carrier, says the alliance. The Windows Mobile Nuvifone M20 will be available in August in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Both Nuvifone models are scheduled to go on sale in Europe and the U.S. in the second half of 2009, says Garmin-Asus. No information was offered on the upcoming Android model. More information on the G60 may be found here.

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