Garmin-Asus Intros Nuvifone A50 Smartphone With Android OS

Garmin-Asus already announced one major smartphone for the Mobile World Congress expo next week in Spain, but Windows Mobile 6.5.3 may not excite the masses. In order to fire up some interest from the other crowd, the company is also introducing another new nuvifone in the A50.

The A50 differs slightly in design, but the biggest change is under the hood on the software front. Google's Android operating system is powering this phone, which should be a welcome change for those who weren't fond of Garmin-Asus' hand-crafted OS that resided on the original nuvifone that shipped on AT&T last year. The company claims that you'll get the best of both worlds here, with Android providing a great, familiar mobile experience and the Garmin turn-by-turn GPS guidance that has gained so much popularity.

Specifications include a 3.5" HVGA display (capacitive touchscreen), a touchscreen keyboard, 4GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, 3MP camera, and an accelerometer that enables the picture to change from portrait or landscape mode based on how you hold the device. As with other Android devices, this one also has one-click access to a variety of Google services, and there's also on-device sync with Microsoft Exchange server in order to satisfy the corporate users. Pricing and release details are expected for most of the world later this year, but Europe should see the first by the summer.

Access to thousands of applications
The A50 integrates Google™ mobile services with one-click access to Google Search™ by voice, Google Maps™, Gmail™, YouTube™, calendar, contacts and Android Market™, where users can find more than 20,000 applications to expand and personalize their phone to fit their lifestyle.

Powerful enterprise email capability
The A50 includes on-device sync with Microsoft Exchange server, with the ability to wirelessly synchronize contacts, calendar and enterprise email. Account setup is quick and easy, and in a few simple steps users will have their contacts, calendar and email ready to go.

High-sensitivity GPS receivers with Garmin navigation
The A50 receives its location (latitude and longitude) information from multiple sources including satellite, network-based and terrestrial sources.  These overlapping technologies ensure that A50 customers have the best location and navigation experience a smartphone can offer.

Garmin navigation is included and preloaded on the A50. Because maps are installed on the device, customers will not have to wait for third party maps to download from a server, nor will they lose their turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation if they are out of cell phone coverage. The A50 also has many of the same features as a high-end Garmin nüvi® navigation device such as lane assist with junction view that guides drivers to the correct lane for an approaching turn or exit and realistically displays road signs. Ready for pedestrian or automotive navigation out-of-the-box, the A50 includes a custom Garmin car mount and vehicle power cable.

The A50 also supports cityXplorer™ maps so that customers can plan and use routes that include public transit options such as bus, tramway, metro and suburban rail systems. cityXplorer content is available as an optional download for select cities. Thanks to the A50’s e-compass, customers will know their heading even when standing still.

In addition to Android Market, the A50 has preloaded, apps through Garmin-Asus’ connected services, which includes real-time, location-relevant information like weather, traffic, fuel prices, safety cameras, flight status,. Connected services information varies by country.

Customers also have access to Street View in Google Maps and 3D landmark images.

Surf the web
With a powerful, multi-touch capable WebKit browser, the A50 allows users to browse the web at quick speeds and view streaming content. In addition, it automatically identifies location information embedded within web pages allowing the user to quickly navigate to the locations published on the world-wide web. 

Take quality photos
The A50 includes a three mega-pixel camera with auto-focus that automatically geotags images with an exact latitude and longitude reference of where the photo was taken.  Customers may then save the image so they can navigate back to the location, or email the geo-tagged image to friends.