Garmin intros navigation-centric Garminfone on Android

Posted by Mike Luttrell

GPS manufacturer Garmin for the first time will be releasing its own branded mobile phone, bringing its navigation technology to the Android platform exclusively through T-Mobile.

The Garminfone will come packed with tons of navigation features, including a brand new app called Garmin Voice Studio that allows users to send and share custom directions to friends and family.

Android already offers its own built-in GPS app through Google Maps' "Navigation" service, but Google warns that it is in beta form and the company certainly doesn't have the expertise in the field that Garmin does.

Expanded functionality for the Garminfone will also include automatically hyperlinking street addresses (from texts, e-mails, Web sites, etc) on the device to bring up direction information. Users can also geo-tag pictures with the built-in 3-megapixel camera and Garmin will introduce a suite of location-based services like movie listings and local gas station prices.

Garmin's full navigation suite that is used on its GPS devices will also be transferred over, allowing complete voice-based navigation information and guaranteed functionality even if the cell signal is lost.

The phone will also come with a mount that makes it easy to stick it to a dashboard or window. Other specs of the Garminfone were not specifically detailed, though it does include support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail, native social networking functionality, and a 3.5-inch touch screen.

The Garminfone will be available later this spring.