Garmin-Asus Unveil Their First New GPS Smartphones

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The new Garmin-Asus venture announced its first two smartphone offerings at the GSM Mobile World Congress and true to earlier promises, they each use a different operating systems, one Linux and the other Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.

Garmin-Asus is a new tie-up between GPS (global positioning system) device maker Garmin and Asustek Computer (Asus) to build smartphones.

When they launched the brand earlier this month, the heads of both companies said they planned to create smartphones around all OSs, including Google's Android.

Out of the two new handsets launched at the Mobile World Congress, the Nuvifone G60 is an older design intended to become Garmin's first smartphone, while the Nuvifone M20 is a new debut.

Both smartphones have been designed with special consideration to location-based services via GPS and use navigation software from Garmin, one of the most popular GPS device makers in the U.S.

Location-based services on both handsets include Garmin maps and software that displays a variety of information including points of interest, friends' houses and the best route to take to avoid traffic. They are also designed to deliver locally relevant information to people, including movie times, nearby restaurants and more.

One feature on the new handsets is geotagging for photos. Pictures taken using the onboard digital cameras of the two Nuvifones will automatically be tagged with date, time and location data.

The Nuvifone M20 has a 2.8-inch touchscreen with 480x640 resolution and runs Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.

The device comes with either 4GB or 8GB of flash storage for songs, pictures and other data. It includes a suite of Microsoft Office Mobile products such as Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint and Word. It has a 3.0-megapixel camera that can also take video.

Wireless technologies on the M20 include tri-band GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) as well as 3G (third-generation) communications and data services using 7.2Mbps (megabits per second) HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) or Wi-Fi 802.11b/g.

The Nuvifone G60, which was announced last year, has a large 3.55-inch touchscreen with 272x480 viewing resolution and uses a Linux OS. The device has 4GB of flash memory for data storage and a 3.0-megapixel digital camera.

The Nuvifone G60 is already being made available to mobile service providers, while the company did not say when the M20 might be on the market.

Pricing information was not immediately available.

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