Garmin will enter the competitive world of mobile telephones with the introduction of the Nüvifone. Apple has already shown that mobile users are hungry for easy-to-use devices that give them Internet connectivity. Garmin could find a niche market with other mobile phone companies that need a strong competitor against the iPhone. AT&T and Apple have an exclusive relationship in the United States that forbids competitors from using the iPhone on their systems.
Garmin is pushing three main features of the Nüvifone with their slogan, "Connect, Communicate, Navigate". The main screen of the phone has three buttons: Call, Search, View Map. The Call button is used to search contacts and make mobile calls. The Search button will utilize location-based search from Google allowing the user to find the closest points of interest near their current location. The Navigate button will launch a full GPS mode for the Nüvifone with turn-by-turn directions.
In addition to these features, the Nüvifone will also have an Internet browser, email, instant messaging, and text messaging to provide personal messaging. The Nüvifone includes a 3.5G mobile connection for web browsing, email, and personal messaging functions. The phone allows access to Garmin Online, a service which is also offered on its line of personal navigation devices. Garmin Online provides real-time traffic, fuel prices, stock prices, sports scores, news reports, local events, and weather.
The interface for the phone is a touchscreen, much like that of the iPhone. Input will be accomplished through a virtual keyboard on the touchscreen. A built-in camera provides geo-tagged photos and a video capture mode. Media content such as MP4 video and MP3 audio files can be played on the Nüvifone as well.
The Nüvifone is vying to compete directly with the iPhone for personal mobile phone users. Nüvifone was hoping to release their product ahead of the iPhone 3G launch in 2008. However, delays have pushed back the Nüvifone luanch until the first quarter of 2009. The iPhone 3G has matched many of the features the Nüvifone had hoped to capitalize on such as 3G and GPS. However, even though the iPhone 3G does include a GPS, software for turn-by-turn directions has not been released by Apple.