Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus will launch the M20, a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone, sometime this year. True to the name, this cute touchscreen handset comes with car dock and a full set of GPS maps for deep-country use.

As we mentioned last week, this never-before-seen handset will actually be the second Nuvifone to hit the market, after the G60 that Garmin was showing off as early as January of last year. The M20 is Garmin-Asus' first venture into Windows Mobile, and is presumed to be followed, eventually, by an Android phone.

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20: A Surprisingly Cute WinMo 6.1 GPS Phone

In the phone department, the M20 hits the necessary specs: It's a GSM-based phone with HSDPA data capability, along with both wi-fi and Bluetooth. As a WinMo phone, it's got the email people like and the browser they don't (sorry, but it's true). Garmin-Asus has reskinned the home page a bit to make it more Garmin-like, with some quick access to the navigational options when it's pivoted sideways, as you can see in the gallery. Only thing is, the touch-sensitive screen is just 2.8", so it might not always be the best for quick-glance info.

The key to this is that the GPS isn't going to crap out when there's no phone service. In addition to the microSD slot, there's between 4GB and 8GB of onboard memory, and in there is the gig of national map data and POIs that usually comes in a regular Nuvi navigator. This means if you're out in the woods, unable to make a call, you can still navigate like a standalone portable GPS device. It also comes with a car dock and power cable, so you can really treat it like you would a standard Nuvi. Only it's better: It's got a 3-megapixel camera that automatically geotags every shot.

Pricing, availability and carrier details are not out yet, probably because Garmin-Asus is headed to Barcelona's Mobile World Congress starting Monday to show this sucka off to the carriers. We're assuming T-Mo and AT&T will both be interested, but as they've both got flagship badass phones already—and Garmin-Asus is also trying to push its original G60—it's hard to guess how this will play out.

Here's the presser:

Garmin-Asus Introduces nüvifone™ M20

BARCELONA, Spain/February 12, 2009/Business Wire - Garmin-Asus, a co-branded alliance between Garmin® Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (TAIEX: 2357), today announced the Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20, an all-in-one phone, mobile web-browser and premium navigation system with a Windows Mobile operating system. The Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20 will be on display at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 16-19, 2009, at the Garmin-Asus exhibit (Hall 7, #7C37).

As the first Garmin-Asus nüvifone powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with enterprise email, the sleek and colorful nüvifone M20 is designed for on-the-go professionals who want a fashionable and functional smartphone to manage their busy work and personal lives. This powerful device combines a dual-band 3.5G/tri-band GSM phone with Wi-Fi connectivity, desktop-like internet browser, push email, document viewing, multi-media capability, Bluetooth® and Garmin sat nav.

The nüvifone M20's full QWERTY soft keyboard makes it easy to send and receive SMS, MMS and emails. The nüvifone M20 can also be synched with a computer so that contacts and emails are always available. HSDPA wireless connectivity and enterprise grade Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) ensure messages are sent and received quickly, including those with attachments.

Recognizing that location is relevant to every aspect of every day, the nüvifone M20 is designed with location based services (LBS) at its core and has the most advanced LBS experience of any Windows Mobile phone. Navigation functions are linked to frequently used applications such as calendar, contacts, email, internet applications and more, simplifying the nüvifone user's day as they travel from one location to another.

The nüvifone M20 supports download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and offers a desktop-style web browsing experience. Users can zoom and pan web pages with their finger as they view the information in either portrait or landscape orientation. In addition, they can easily navigate to an address on a web page with only a few taps of the screen.

The GPS features of the nüvifone M20 usher in a level of sophistication never seen before on a Windows Mobile smartphone. It has the navigation capability of a premium Garmin nüvi® sat nav, and comes with preloaded maps and points of interest (POIs) – hotels, restaurants, stores, fuel stations and more – for North America, Eastern and Western Europe, or other regions. Selecting a destination is straightforward and requires limited input from the user. For example, users can search for a destination by typing in the specific name or address of an establishment, search by category, or navigate to addresses in the nüvifone M20's contact database or on the web. The device then gives turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions and automatically recalculates if a turn is missed along the way. In addition, the nüvifone includes quick access to online points of interest through internet enabled local search. The nüvifone harnesses the power of the worldwide web and information about local merchants and attractions is continually updated.

The nüvifone M20 takes GPS navigation one step further via Connected Services, a suite of online applications and data from Garmin-Asus that adds location intelligence to navigation, phone and browser functions. The expandable list of applications includes content like real-time traffic information, White Pages, weather, flight status, local events, and movie times.

The nüvifone product line also includes Ciao!™, a ground-breaking LBS application that helps users stay up to date on their friends' whereabouts and status by linking numerous location-centric social networks. Through Ciao!, nüvifone users will see their friends' location on a map and then be able to navigate to that location with ease. Nüvifone users can also choose to have the nüvifone automatically update their social network location information.

The nüvifone M20 has exceptional entertainment capabilities with the combination of a 2.8" TFT touch lens display, built-in microphone and speakers, built-in 4Gb/8Gb My Storage, and ActiveSync® for Outlook®, Microsoft® Office, and multi-media synchronization. The VGA (640x480) display brings action to life when watching video or looking at photographs. The three megapixel camera automatically geotags images with the exact latitude and longitudinal coordinates. Users can then save the image on their phone, email it to a friend, or navigate to where the image was taken.

Garmin-Asus expects to announce the nüvifone M20's pricing and availability information in the first half of 2009. Journalists should contact Garmin-Asus media representatives to arrange product demonstrations or interviews. Additional information about the nüvifone product line is available at www.GarminAsus.com.

About Garmin-Asus
Garmin-Asus is a co-branded strategic alliance that enables Garmin Ltd. and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. to combine their complementary resources to develop world class LBS-centric mobile phones.