Garmin-Asus to Release Low-cost Eee Phone This Year

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The Eee Phone, a smartphone that takes its name from popular computer products by Asustek Computer (Asus) including the Eee PC netbook line, will be among the early handsets released by the new Garmin-Asus mobile phone business the two companies announced last week.

GPS (global positioning system) device maker Garmin and Asus said the first Garmin-Asus handset will be revealed in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress next week.

But it will not be the Eee Phone.

The Eee Phone will be a low-cost smartphone and will be announced later this year, an Asustek representative said Thursday.

Several news reports have speculated that the Eee Phone will be the first Asustek offering to use Google's Android software, but Asus has not confirmed anything yet.

When the new Garmin-Asus name was announced last week, the heads of the two companies said their handsets will use a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows Mobile, Linux and Android.

The first handset they plan to deliver under the Garmin-Asus name is the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60, which will be a refresh of the original Nuvifone G60 that Garmin commissioned Asustek to build last year.

Another Garmin-Asus mobile handset will be announced at the Mobile World Congress as well, but will likely launch in 2010, Asustek executives have said.

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