For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60, we’re afraid we have some bad news. Garmin’s long-anticipated, much-hyped entry into the smartphone market has been delayed again.
Garmin originally planned to launch a nüvifone in the third quarter of 2008. More recently, the company announced a partnership with Asus and said the device would be delayed until the first half of 2009. Now, it’s sounding like the Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60 won’t be released until the second half of this year. No firm date has been set.
The Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60 was first thought to be a Windows Mobile phone. Development has since gone the direction of Linux OS. The upcoming Garmin-Asus M20 is a Windows Mobile based phone that was originally scheduled for a summer 2009 release.
In a market that’s already crowded with many smartphones, some people wonder if Garmin-Asus will be able to rise above the many options available. We’re getting ready for version 3 of the iPhone later this year. Additionally, RIM has made aggressive efforts to tap into the consumer market with a variety of Blackberries, including the Storm, and Palm is preparing to launch the much-hyped Pre. There’s also the Android platform to consider, especially since many new Android devices are expected yet this year.
During the company’s earnings call with analysts last week, Garmin president and COO Cliff Pemble said, “Smart phones are really complicated devices and bringing one to market that’s built totally from the ground up on a custom Linux platform is not an easy task. We certainly haven’t performed to our expectations, but we believe we have a very unique device and we still have a lot of interest in the device from carriers.” The company says it’s currently in the testing phase of the certification process and believes it is getting close to the end.
It’s good to hear that Pemble sees a lot of interest from the carriers, but it’s also important to consider that GPS may not be the killer feature on a smartphone that it once was. For example, now that many phones can use triangulation and Google Maps to determine one’s approximate location and provide location-based information, GPS no longer helps a phone rise above its competition in the same way it once did. Even so, true GPS on a smartphone will still be a very valuable feature to some, and Garmin certainly has a good track history of producing excellent GPS devices.