Recently an increasing number of mobile phones have come with certain GPS and satellite navigation applications and functions; the HTC Artemis range and its bundled TomTom navigator software being possibly the best-equipped. This has obviously helped in highlighting the fact that Sat-Nav is fast becoming an essential part of any multimedia device.
To date there hasn’t been a handset that is built from the ground up for this purpose, but GPS-giants Garmin have done just that with the Navifone.
In a varying range of blog and mobile news websites, the Navifone has been touted as an iPhone competitor, which is very surprising but more feasible than appearances may have you believe.
This assumption is based around the 3.5 inch touchscreen, which as you would expect is the main method of using the phone in almost all situations. This is coupled with the simplistic yet attractive-looking interface and in some aspects you can see why it has been given the dreaded task of competing with the iPhone.
As this phone hasn’t been shown first hand to the industry officially, it’s hard to make any kind of judgement regarding the effectiveness of the UI, but if it is as innovative as the iPhone was, things could get really interesting. We do know that it is based upon the already proven interface on Garmin’s existing Nuvi Sat-Nav system.
Official specs are nigh-on-impossible to get hold of at this time, but there are some sketchy details out there at the moment. The Navifone will have a (as mentioned earlier) 3.5″ touchscreen display; HSDPA 3G access; digital camera with video (no Mega Pixel count yet) and media player with support for all the latest music file formats such as AAC+ etc, though this is still awaiting confirmation.
The Garmin Navifone will have 3 different ways in which to use the device, all of which can be selected with a single tap on the relevant on-screen option. The options are pretty self-explanatory – Phone; Search & Navigation. The search option in case you’re wondering is for locating your own position when lost, via the integrated Google local search option.
The Sat-Nav capabilities are also based on Garmin’s standalone Nuvi series of GPS receivers and are likely to be one of the best seen in mobile phones capable of this.
Once more specific details and specs are available we’ll have a better idea of how the Garmin Navifone will fit into the mobile phone marketplace once released, but until then methinks it’ll be one to watch closely over the coming months.
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by Darren Evans