As yet another answer to Apple’s iPhone and iPhone 3G handsets, Garmin’s Nuvifone was announced earlier this year to much fanfare and high expectations. Garmin’s prowess in GPS navigation devices was expected to give them an edge in a smartphone market that has essentially adopted GPS hardware as standard offerings. The Garmin Nuvifone was set to debut late in 2008, giving it a shot at competing with the iPhone 3G in holiday sales.
Sadly, Garmin won’t be launching their GPS-navigation savvy Garmin Nuvifone until 2009, according to the company. Specific carrier requirements, likely from AT&T in the US, have Garmin making changes to the Nuvifone that will delay its launch until next year. ASUS has been rumored to be manufacturing the Garmin Nuvifone. It’s not clear if ASUS scrapped their upcoming smartphone lineup to ensure adequate resources were available to get the Nuvifone launched as soon as possible.
The Garmin Nuvifone’s strength lies in its GPS navigation hardware and software. The company has been making GPS devices years before Apple even started work on the iPhone, and even before GPS hardware started popping up in smartphones from various manufacturers. As such, the Garmin Nuvifone should outperform other GPS-toting smartphones on the market – as far as navigational software is concerned.
It remains to be seen if Garmin will leverage the GPS hardware to support features like geo-tagging photos and location-based applications. Although, Garmin’s recent dealings with Gypsii make it likely that location-based social networking will be thrown in the mix.