Sunday, February 03, 2008

GPS maker sees phone as its future

Garmin Ltd., the nation's leading maker of satellite-powered navigational devices, is getting into the wireless phone business with a handset that incorporates GPS.

"This is the breakthrough product that cell phone and GPS users around the world have been longing for - a single device that does it all," said Cliff Pemble, the company's president and chief operating officer. "We believe the Nuvifone will change the way people view converged devices in the future."

Garmin, which is based in the Cayman Islands and has operational headquarters in suburban Kansas City, Mo., has long been a leader in the market for global positioning satellite technology.

New data from Telematics Research Group indicates that navigation-equipped phones will outsell navigational devices by next year.

Garmin is entering a market crowded with experienced players like Samsung, Motorola, Apple and Nokia - which is in the process of acquiring the company that provides Garmin's digital maps, NavTeq.

Garmin and its chief rival, Netherlands-based TomTom, have been rumored for months to be working on cell phones. Mio Technology, another GPS company, said this week it was developing its own phone with chipmaker Qualcomm.

The Nuvifone, whose price has not been announced, will have a camera, wireless Internet surfing platform, MP3 player and 3.5-inch touch-screen display and give voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions.

Source : Click here

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