Garmin-Asus Nüvifone Finally Ships (To Asian Markets)

Garmin-Asus, the partnership that many doubted would ever bear fruit, is finally gearing up to ship their first product. When it was originally announced back in 2008, the nüvifone was viewed as a serious iPhone competitor and a real top-notch product for the smartphone industry at large. Unfortunately for Garmin-Asus, a lot has changed over the past year, with Google's Android hitting the market, Samsung stepping up its Windows Mobile game and even LG making a serious play for market share. The other thing is that the nüvifone has remained unchanged since its announcement, giving existing smartphone customers little reason to believe it still has relevance and staying power.

The nüvifone G60, which is the Linux-powered version as compared to the Windows Mobile-powered M20, is now scheduled to ship overseas as early as next week. To say this moment has been a long time coming is a startling understatement, and we're thrilled to see the partnership finally moving forward with a shipping product. Starting on July 27, 2009, the G60 will go on sale in Taiwan, while Singapore and Malaysia will see it on store shelves by the end of August. Next month, the aforementioned M20 will also go on sale in Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and COO, just might be the most relieved person of all:

"We can’t wait for our customers to start using a nüvifone. Our lives are all about location. The nüvifone is designed around that premise and that’s what differentiates it from the myriad of other phones on the market."

Benson Lin, Asus Vice President and General Manager of Handheld Business Group, also chimed in to share in the excitement:

"Whether it’s talking and navigating simultaneously, geotagging a photograph or navigating to an address on the web, the nüvifone seamlessly links navigation with other commonly performed activities."

For those who have somehow missed out on all the development and delays, these two handsets are among the first two that really integrated navigation and cellphone functionality. Now, most smartphone these days have some sort of routing service, but none have had the namesake like Garmin latched on. The two slated for Asian release will come with pre-loaded maps of specific Asia-Pacific regions, while future versions--which will ship to Europe and North America in due time--will come with their respective maps. The nüvifone G60 and M20 utilize a real GPS receiver with hotfix, in addition to A-GPS (assisted GPS).