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Garmin, ASUSTek Join Hands to Release Garmin-Asus nüvifone A50

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BARCELONA, Spain – Continuing from where they signed off in the previous edition of Mobile World Congress, Garmin and ASUSTek have announced the update for their co-branded smartphone Nüvifone G60 with the Nüvifone A50 – the first Android smartphone from the alliance.

Navigation giant Garmin and leading chip manufacturer ASUSTek joined hands last year in a strategic alliance to manufacture location-based services-oriented smartphones. With Garmin being the leading service provider in GPS based navigation systems, ASUSTek was an ideal ally to venture into the highly competitive smartphone segment. Their first device Nüvifone G60 failed to create a mark in this volatile segment but the alliance is hopeful of a turn-around with its latest device Nüvifone A50.

With Google providing free voice-guided navigation on Android 2.0 version of  Google Maps, the Nüvifone A50 will competing head-to-head with Android 2.0 devices from leading manufacturers, including Google (with its Nexus One), Motorola (Droid, for example), and HTC, who will be inundating the Android smartphone segment with Android 2.0 handsets over the year.

However, what sets the Nüvifone A50 apart from these devices is the combination of location-based technologies used with multiple sources including satellite, network-based and terrestrial sources, overlapping with each other in providing several of the location-based services. The device integrates LBS into every smartphone function including email, text messaging, and photos. Further, with Garmin’s turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation for both driving and pedestrian usage, the alliance is proclaiming Nüvifone A50 to offer the best navigation experience possible on a smartphone.

Addressing the press, Benson Lin, Vice President and General Manager of ASUS personal mobile devices business unit said, “the A50 brings premium navigation features to the Android operating system, offering users a seamless location based experience along with access to the wealth of applications that the platform affords”. Also present on the occassion was Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and COO, who added “Location is relevant to everything you do… The A50 integrates navigation and GPS functionality throughout the device, which gives customers the versatility and reliability they need as they navigate their day”.

Apart from GPS, the smartphone boasts of a 3.5″ capacitive touchscreen display with HVGA resolution, a QWERTY on-screen keyboard, accelerometer (motion sensor), a 3 megapixel camera, 4GB of internal storage coupled with a microSD card slot for memory expansion. The device also integrates Google mobile services with one-click access to Google Search by voice, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, calendar, contacts and Android Market. Further, the A50 will be preloaded with apps from Garmin-Asus’ connected services, which includes real-time, location-relevant information such as weather, traffic, fuel prices, safety cameras, flight status, etc.. Garmin-Asus are also targeting the business user with on-device sync with Microsoft Exchange server, with the ability to wirelessly synchronize contacts, calendar and enterprise email.

While the press release didn’t reveal the exact pricing of the device, estimated availability was hinted at second half of 2010, and the device will be on display at Garmin-Asus booths at Mobile World Congress to be held in Barcelona, Spain from 15th February 2010.

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By , Chief International Correspondent on Feb 12th, 2010 GMT +2

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