On Tuesday night, T-Mobile revealed the identity of its newest Google Android device and it's not exactly the device we were expecting to see.
Instead of the rumored T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide, the carrier introduced the Garminfone, a rebranded version of the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50, which was first announced at Mobile World Congress 2010. At that time, Garmin said it did not know whether the GPS-enabled smartphone would make it to North America, but T-Mobile will, in fact, be the first to launch the device worldwide when it comes out later this spring.
With Garmin behind the wheel, obviously navigation will play a big role. The Garminfone will offer many of the features found on the company's standalone GPS devices, including preloaded maps of North America, a database of nearly 6 million points of interest, and voice-guided navigation with text-to-speech directions. You'll also get lane guidance, junction view, and a new Android app called Garmin Voice Studio, which lets users record and share voice directions with friends and family. The phone's GPS capabilities can also be used to locate nearby gas prices, restaurants and movie times, real-time traffic, and weather data.
As a phone, the Garminfone sports a 3.5-inch capacitive touch screen and measures 4.57 inches tall by 2.45 inches wide by 0.51 inch thick. It will run Android 1.6 at launch, but T-Mobile was quick to point out that the phone is capable of over-the-air updates. You'll get the standard Android apps--Gmail, Google Talk, YouTube, Android Market, and so forth--but the device will sport Garmin's own user interface.
Some other quick specs to check off the list: 3G, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, HTML Web browser with pinch-to-zoom support, and a 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and digital zoom.
Pricing was not announced at this time, though you can find more details from T-Mobile's Web site. We'll be honest: we were really apprehensive about the Nuvifone A50 after the fiasco that was the Garmin Nuvifone G60, but after some hands-on time with the smartphone at MWC 2010, we're cautiously optimistic. Definitely looking forward to spending more quality time with the Garminfone when we get one in for review.
The AT&T Nuvifone left such a bad taste in people's mouths that this has to be a big, big improvement. Android will mean that most of the "premium connected services" will now be Android apps and should be low cost or free. The Nuvifone is dead, long live the Garminfone.
I am keen to play with this new model when it comes out. Saving to buy next phone outright so will have to see if it's worthwhile. I think if it can't be updated to Android 2.1, then it will not be worth it. I mean, come on, you don't want to start with "old technology" on a new phone release. I don't understand why carriers do this...?
Anyone know if the TMo phone will be crippled like the ATT G60 version. We're all still keen to update the ATT G60 with APAC (or other region) firmware — but no one has been able to do it yet
Time will tell....
T-Mobile doesn't have a habit of crippling Andriod like AT&T does. It should pretty much be stock A50. Garmin said and MWC that the phone would be upgradeable to Android 2.1 so we can expect that. My only wish is that it had a 3.5mm headset jack and maybe a flash for the camera.
Thanks for the info kingstu. Do you have a link to read about where Garmin/MWC say the unit is upgradeable?
Now, I wonder if they mean "it is possible to upgrade" or "it will be upgraded"? One statement says it could and another say "hey, in a few months we will update your device".
It was on one of the videos interviewing a Garmin rep about the product during a demo. After seeing how heavily customized everything was I can see why they took so long to get it out. The UI is very similar to the UI of the G60--only better
Funnily enough, I enjoy my Nuvifone as well. Browser is terrible but the amount of times I have used the GPS has been great. I think I will have to play with the new phone and see how it actually is before jumping to get it. At least now, we are aware of certain "missing" features in the ATT G60 so can look out for those in the TMo version.
Please, oh please, let there be copy and paste!!!
It is supposed to be superior in every way to the G60. If you have never used Andriod or a smartphone you'll be surprised what it can do. I am looking forward to installing a few apps that will really be great to have and make it even more useful. I really hope they sell an unlocked version that I can import with AT&T 3G band
kingstu, you won't be able to use the Garminphone A50 on ATT 3G because TMo uses a different frequency band for their 3G.
T-Mobile: 1700/2100 MHz
AT&T: 1900 MHz
The best, afaik, you will get on AT&T using the A50 is Edge. Bummer for us AT&T folks
The spec sheet they showed at the MWC had 850/1900 3G available. That will probably be on the international version just like it was on the G60. If AT&T doesn't pick it up it will probably be sold unlocked and i can get it that way. I heard all phones sold in Taiwan are sold unlocked and since ASUS is headquartered there, be sure that is where the phone will first be made available.
I continue to receive bits and pieces of information about the Garminfone, along with additional pictures of it in action. Here’s the latest:
* The version that my tipster is running sports Android 1.6
* My tipster says that the mapping app and GPS are so good that he/she can’t send me pics of it working since it shows its exact location
* As you can see in the picture below, it has 510MB for App Storage and 3,141MB of Internal Storage. It also has an SD card slot, so there’s plenty of room for expansion, just not on the App side
I’m still not seeing what the true differentiator and reason to buy would be, with other great Android phones out there. The fact that the current model that my tipster is playing with is running 1.6 makes me even less excited about it.