If anyone doubts that 2008 will be a monumental year for both mobile phone technology and the marketing behind it, the Mobile World Congress later this month should dispel any such doubts.
Although it won’t be available until fall, the public will be given its first showing of what Garmin has called the “next level” in mobile phones, an exciting proposition for mobile users looking for added convenience and value in their gadgets.
Garmin will be in Barcelona to unveil a sleek new device (one yet to be priced) that will serve as both a mobile phone and a GPS system. The Garmin “Nuvifone,” as it’s called, is an ultra thin handheld designed for customers who want to own a GPS and a mobile phone, without having to carry two unrelated devices.
Loaded with comprehensive maps of North America and Europe, the Nuvifone will also include Google Local Search. Customers will be able to search for destinations by type, such as banks or restaurants Google Local Search sorts results based on the user’s current location.
Garmin’s product will combine 3.5G phone capability with an Internet browser, data connectivity, personal messaging and full personal navigation functions. The Nuvifone will also feature a 3.5-in. LCD touch screen, an audio player for MP3, MPEG-4 and AAC files, and a built-in camera for stills and video.
For the often forgetful or misguided individual (much like myself), the Nuvifone handset offers an attractive “Where am I?” feature that quickly identifies the driver’s real-time location on the digitally rendered map. Arguably even more appealing is how the device aids drivers in finding where they have parked their car by “marking” the location where the Nuvifone was last removed from the vehicle’s handset cradle.
“This is the breakthrough product that mobile phone and GPS users around the world have been longing for,” says Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s President and COO, “It’s a single device that does it all.”