Another iPhone Killer? Meet Garmin Nuvifone

Garmin yesterday formally announced their ‘iPhone’ killer (doesn’t everybody have one?) called the Nuvifone. Garmin bills the Nuvifone as ‘an all-in-one sleek and slim touchscreen device that combines a premium phone mobile web-browser and cutting-edge personal navigator. The Nuvifone is a work of art in features design and functionality and is destined to transform how individuals connect communicate and navigate their life.’

Meet Nuvifone another ‘iPhone killer’

The Nuvifone is a similar form factor to the iPhone and is driven by a 3.5-inch touchscreen display with three primary icons – Call Search and View Map. While the phone is still under wraps the UI and OS are said to be based on the same platform that drives its range of handheld GPS devices.

With built-in GPS you can geo-tag photos

Nuvifone also steals some of the upcoming Android functionality by integrating Google Local Search with GPS. Nuvifone users ‘can search for locations like “coffee shops” and Google will sort the results based on the user’s current location and relevance. Information provided by Google includes a web-based rating so that users can select the most appropriate destination and route directly to it.’

Nuvifone has an icon driven interface and reminds me of another phone I’ve seen recently.

While the Nuvifone introduces some interesting concepts and looks the part I can’t see an integrated GPS/phone device as being a market killer. And at a time where Google is on the cusp of releasing their Android platform and Apple are about to release the iPhone/TouchSDK another smarter smartphone might just be too much for the market to bear. Additionally both Apple and Google have much stronger consumer brands (in Australia at least) and I personally couldn’t ever see myself using a Garmin phone – it just feels wrong.

John Gruber from Daring Fireball also thinks the Nuvifone smells fishy. He says ‘for something due by September they’re awfully short on details.’ and ‘Garmin also seems to be implicitly encouraging direct comparison to the iPhone and Apple: the hardware is obviously iPhone-esque; the screenshot mockups are entirely set in Myriad (the iPhone uses Helvetica of course but Myriad is Apple’s branding font); and even the name “Nuvifone” contains the substring “ifone”.’

Garmin have said the Nuvifone should be available Q3 2008 and there’s nothing to indicate its availability here in Australia.