Monday, February 11, 2008
I have seen the future and thanks to some nifty work from Garmin, I did not get lost.
Those mapping guys have released the NuviPhone, a phone, they claim, is the first touchscreen device to integrate a mobile phone, premium web browser and personal navigator. It is a quad-band GSM mobile phone with UMTS, which is compatible with the latest in 3.5G networks around the world. Designed for high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), nüvifone supports the highest download speeds offered by 3G mobile networks. The nüvifone also includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sounds complicated. Sadly, they don't have one that actually works, so I didn't get to play with it, but after chatting to one of the bosses at Garmin, he assured me that it was as easy as working with your regular direction finding devices that you already have melted onto your windscreen.
The nüvifone's built-in camera has Location Message Service (LMS), which tags every location with the exact latitude and longitude reference of where the image was taken. The user may then save the image so they can navigate back to the location, or email the image to a recipient who can navigate directly to the location. In addition, the nüvifone provides direct access to millions of geo-located landmark and sightseeing photographs available through Google's Panoramio picture sharing site. The Panoramio photo search feature enhances the enjoyment and adventure of sightseeing in an otherwise unfamiliar location. Other multimedia functions of the nüvifone include a built-in video camera and MP3 player.
When will we be seeing this wonderful peice of 'find-me-talk-to-me-while-I-show-you-where-I-Am" thingy? (I still don't know what to call it. Is it a phone or a GPS or a camera?)
Garmin tells me that it should be ready to be sold later this year, but look out for a BIG Xmas launch worldwide, then a little later on the southern tip of Africa.