New mobile phones

New mobile phones announcements

Garmin is about to reveal Android phone

Google took a shot at Garmin International’s business when it built the power of navigation into an update of its Android operating system last fall.

Now Garmin is prepared to unleash a new phone, built for that same Android system and its ability to team with Google’s fast-growing catalog of new applications.

The Olathe-based company said in a release today that the new Garminfone — price for the gadget and its service are secret — would go on sale through T-Mobile this spring.

While the Garminfone comes armed with the social networking standards that define the latest smart phones — easy access to personal and work e-mail, Facebook and YouTube — the release announcing the device emphasizes its powers of location.

The phone won’t just give you driving directions to your destination, it will lead you back to where you parked your car, document where you took photos with the gadget, and pluck addresses from an e-mail or calendar.

It will operate on two forms of navigation — traditional satellite GPS signals and so-called assisted-GPS that garners a location based on distance from multiple cell phone towers. It is operational indoor where satellite signals can’t be reached.

Garmin entered the phone market last year, first debuting its Nuvifone overseas and then the Nuvifone G60 in the United States in October. Min Kao, Garmin’s chairman and chief executive, has admitted being “disappointed” in sales but hopeful that snazzier advances in smart phones would give the navigation company a stronger foothold in the market.

Smart phones, in fact, could be seen as a threat to Garmin’s once-burgeoning prospects. The gadgets now often are sold with optional navigation services — typically good-enough directions drawn from calculating a user’s distance from cell phone towers.


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