News that Garmin and Asus were teaming up to produce the other type of convergence smartphone–marrying serious navigation power with a cellphone–only hit the other week, but the alliance has just stumped up with news on its first proper product. And the Nuvifone M20 looks to be a sweet deal indeed.
It’s a more modern design than its predecessor G60, and unlike that Linux-based device it runs Windows Mobile 6.1, albeit with a serious piece of Garmin skinning and front-end work to cover up the OS. It’s a quad-band HSDPA 3G phone, with Bluetooth, a 2.8-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi and built-in accelerometer and speakers. The Windows OS gives it document-viewing capabilities, media-playback options and push email support along with wireless Web browsing.
As befits a GPS-centric device it comes with pre-loaded maps, and works pretty much how you’d expect a stand-alone GPS would when you’re using it to navigate–it even comes with a car dock. The GPS also feeds geotagging data to images taken on its built-in 3-megapixel camera, and it will come with either 4GB or 8GB of on-board storage. And there’s expansion available via microSD if the built-in memory isn’t enough for your needs though.
All in all it looks like a pretty solid smartphone offering, though there’s no info on price, which will ultimately decide the product’s fate. With news that proper turn-by-turn navigation from Telenav is coming to Android phones soon, and evidence that the next iPhone may make heavy use of navigation and location-based-services, the GPS smartphone market may close up around Garmin-Asus pretty quickly, unless the hardware offers some pretty spectacular bonuses such as very affordable costs. Maybe the next Nuvifone will incorporate some of Samsung’s ideas and jam in a 12-megapixel autofocus camera–that would be a convergence device that would undoubtedly sell.