Garmin-Asus Unveils Android, Windows Navigation Smartphones

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2010-02-16

Garmin-Asus Unveils Android, Windows Navigation Smartphones

Garmin-Asus, a co-branded alliance between satellite navigation specialist Garmin and computer maker AsusTek Computer, announced the launch of two smartphones loaded with location-based features and services. The A50, which runs on Google's open-source Android operating system, also includes Garmin navigation with turn-by-turn, voice-prompted directions for use in a car or while walking. The M10, a full-touch, all-in-one smartphone powered by the latest version of Windows Mobile, 6.5.3, is expected to be available through carrier and retail channels in Asia and Europe in the first half of 2010. The N??vifone A50 is expected to be available in Europe in the first half of 2010.

The sleek and thin A50 has a 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touch-screen display that incorporates a finger-friendly user interface and QWERTY touch-screen keyboard with predictive text capability. It also comes with hardware features such as 4GB internal storage, an expandable microSD card slot and accelerometer so every screen can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode. 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. Location features are designed into virtually every function including e-mail, text messaging and photos.

The A50 also includes on-device sync with Microsoft Exchange server, with the ability to wirelessly synchronize contacts, calendar and enterprise e-mail. 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 receives its location (latitude and longitude) information from multiple sources including satellite, network-based and terrestrial sources.

"Location is relevant to everything you do," said Garmin's president and COO Cliff Pemble, who noted 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. "The A50 integrates navigation and GPS functionality throughout the device, which gives customers the versatility and reliability they need as they navigate their day."

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. The company noted, however, that connected services information varies by country.

Customers also have access to Street View in Google Maps and 3D landmark images. The A50 also 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 e-mail the geo-tagged image to friends.

One Device, Many Features


The Garmin-Asus M10 runs the latest version of Windows Mobile, version 6.5.3, which features upgrades that provide access to Windows Marketplace for Mobile, offering a number of Windows phone applications for download. It sports a 3.5-inch WVGA display with a Billboard feature that displays the most important information so users can review all at one glance. A 3D Task Manager also allows users to switch between running applications. Keeping the phone responsive and the navigation smooth are 512 RAM and 512 ROM, while 4GB of Flash memory provides storage for multimedia and data.

"The Garmin-Asus M10 is our answer to people's need for work-life balance," said Benson Lin, vice president and general manager of Asus' personal mobile devices business unit, handheld business group. "The M10 runs Windows Mobile, making it the ideal smartphone for business use, while its smart navigation capabilities, comprehensive social networking features and connected services enable users to lead a truly smart lifestyle. The M10 is the phone for the new Smart3 era."

The M10 is equipped with a 1500 mAh battery for hours of uninterrupted use, as well as a full QWERTY soft keyboard, HSDPA wireless connectivity and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g). In addition, the M10 can be synched to Microsoft Exchange and is designed with location information at its core-- navigation functions are linked to frequently used applications such as calendar, contacts, e-mail, the Internet browser and messaging.

The M10 also boasts a range of social capabilities, including access to Facebook and Picasa Web Albums, as well as placing real-time information on connected services such as weather, safety cameras, traffic, flight status and fuel prices at users' fingertips. Rounding out the package is a set of advanced navigation features equivalent to a high-end Garmin n??vi navigation tool, 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. It also has highway mode that tells drivers the next three upcoming street exits so they can plan ahead.

"The Garmin-Asus M10 is a powerful time-saving tool that is designed for anyone who is tired of carrying numerous devices and instead wants to carry one device that gives them many of the same features found on a stand-alone phone, laptop, PND and digital camera," said Pemble. 


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