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back to article Garmin takes on iPhone with satnav mobile

Is it a satnav, or is it a mobile phone? Garmin’s hoping you’ll think its latest device is both, because the Nüvifone lets you find locations and make calls through a fancy touchscreen UI. Garmin_Nuvifone Garmin's Nüvifone: a mobile phone and GPS combined The Nüvifone combines 3.5G cellular connectivity with Garmin’s …

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Happy

Mmmm :)

Now if it's got wifi too, then I want one !

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Nothing new here, move along now.....

I have been running SAT-NAV on various Windows Mobile PDAs with phone and data connections built in for years now, nothing new here.

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Potentially Super Cool

This could be very cool. Alas the article, and likely the press release, is pretty short on details like what OS. If it's a Garmin proprietary it will probably be WAY more solid than Palm or Win, but probably not extensible at all. Of course Steve says we don't need no stinkin' apps just use the browser.

It also doesn't say anything about PDA functions, so it may be more of an iPhony replacement than a Treo replacement. Regardless, anything Garmin does will likely be of the highest quality and worth a look. I am suitably intrigued.

One complaint Oh! Great! Editors! Of! El! Reg! (see how annoying interspaced punctuation is [OK, maybe 2 complaints]): PLEASE stop calling GPS satnav. The original US NAVY satellite navigation system was a dopler based affair named Transit. But was generally referred to as Satnav by mariners - the only people who moved slow enough to use it. The USAF GPS system replaced Transit and one assumes those satellites have long since gored some unsuspecting Australian beef. Still it is basically confusing.

Preemptively - please don't call Galileo satnav either. You may call it The Great European White Elephant, or the ESA's gift to BAE if you like. A headline I haven't seen yet but feel free to use: "European farm subsidies rocket". Also "Farmers searching sky for missing funds".

And here's me searching for the coat.

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Anonymous Coward

How about

Isn't it time these handheld GPS positions (sans maps) used by hiking, walkers etc.

http://www.gpsw.co.uk/details/prod3541.html

Came down to the size of a tiny mobile phone? Now that the GPS chipset can be the size of a sim card?

You could build them into something the size of a compass (with a electronic compass built in too perhaps).

Those GPS units seem to be legacy systems, but walking and hiking is still a popular thing, so why not update them?

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Re How about

Well now I have a nice little watch by Suunto, got GPS built in!

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Legend

I had a garmin eTrex legend until it was stolen in Malta - and it was a fantastic piece of kit. Garmin do make good quality stuff.

To be honest, i'd rather the OS wasn't extensible on the phone. As long as what it does, it does well then I'm not too bothered. That's where WinCE has gone wrong. It's not designed for a phone, it's designed for a PC. I hate using my XDA stellar when I'm not sitting at a desk, and when I'm sitting at my desk, I have a PC/Phone/Laptop I can use instead.

This garmin looks like it's suitable for using on the move. Wahey! Someone's got the right idea. I just hope they don't ruin it with a stupidly small soft-key-pad. I HATE THEM!

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re: How about

Some of the eTrek range has electronic compass IIRC and have various map options for display - and they are not much bigger than the batteries they use (two AAs - so spares are easily obtainable)

You probably don't want them much smaller as that would limit things like screen size, button sizes - try using one in gloves on a cold windy day

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Anonymous Coward

@Trevor Watt

You seem to have missed the fact that it's not running on Windows.

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@Terry

Unfortunately, it' only going to be confusing for people who have actually heard of Mariner - which is now a tiny fraction of the navigation-system-using population. SatNav is now a pretty ubiquitous shorthand description for consumer a satellite navigation system, so I'm afraid that you're going to have to put up with it.

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Should probably have added

Technically GPS isn't the correct name for a navigation system anyway. GPS refers only to the co-ordinate-based positioning system - the additional systems that use those co-ordinates for navigation purposes are not part of GPS.

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What - Garmin still trading?

As an early adopter, I bought a Garmin GPS-40 handheld years ago. It was not a success. Permanently lost. Useless when amongst buildings, trees, mountains, hedges, small dogs and other tall surroundings. Pathetic battery life. Not AFAICT Y2K compliant. Impossible for me to patch. The only way I could persuade it to get a fix was to stand unmoving for half-an-hour on the flat, clutter-free, concrete top of a tall multi-storey car-park. Which rather defeated the object of GPS, because I knew where I was at that moment.

Admittedly, GPS has improved somewhat in the last decade. I still keep the Garmin in my sock drawer. I pull it out whenever I get the urge to buy something new and fancy. It reminds me why never to be an early adopter of anything...

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Re: How about

Garmin do the Forerunner 205, 305 and 405; all wrist based GPS, aimed at runners. I have the 305 and am very pleased with accuracy.

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Stop

Remember though

Garmin were (still are?), possible the biggest continuous developer of the handheld GPS unit, and as such they made all the mistakes that other companies learnt from. I agree, the GPS-40 was terrible, but Garmin have done such a lot for devices with onboard GPS since and to write them off still on the basis of the GPS-40 is very unfair. In my opinion anyway.

Having used a phone with onboard GPS for the last six months, I will never do without in again where possible, and for someone who has had a great deal of success with several Garmin devices for different purposes the last five years, this phone has the potential to be top of the pile in it's particular niche. Why? Because Garmin know what they are doing with these sort of devices (mobile phones aside of course).

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Gates Horns

Can't be worse than the N95

Well at least with experiance like Garmin's you'd hope they couldn't make such a c*ck-up of the GPS as Nokia managed in the first (silver) N95. My g/f has got it at it's dire.

Also why is it that none of these "GPS" units (ie satnav) give proper long/lat or OS grid refs. I've been using a Garmin GPS 12 for years and it's always worked properly, acurately and survived numberious drops onto rocks or into burns.

Frankly I'll just be happy with my £20 mobile which can send texts and sent/receive calls, my DSLR camera which can (amazingly) take photos, my £50 sat nav for the car (which amazingly gives me driving directions) and my GPS for walking etc. Tis the devil's work this integration!!!

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Re: Garmin GPS-40

The problem is always when it's your own real money. I paid close to GBP 200 of my own taxed income, more than ten years ago, to try out GPS via Garmin's hand-held. In essence, I bought a fancy non-functional electric paperweight. I know things have improved vastly since (I have a USB GPS receiver which can get a fix from cold within two minutes INSIDE a concrete house - just amazing), and I'm prepared to believe that eTrex's and other units now work well. But no-one from Garmin has ever come round to say sorry and to repay me my hard-earned cash, so they're just - how shall we express this - no longer on the preferred supplier list. When there's competition in a market (this is not like MS Windows), you only have to give a consumer one dreadful experience for that consumer to buy another brand for the rest of their consuming life.

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Alert

Will it be half baked?

I'm both a smart mobile phone and sat-nav enthusiast for many years. The argument of Windows pda as well and Symbian based for GPS functionally is nothing new. Frankly none of them are satisfactory in terms of partiality is concerned. It remains to be seen if Garmin can deliver. Keep in mind, Garmin has a horrible reputation in gimping their devices. Just look at the Nuvi line, it's mind boggling why their marketing department decide to make things too simple but yet so complicated with their overly simplified interface, and a very confusing line up.

for example. Tracks are removed , as well as area avoidance, or even a halfway usable compass. Compared to their older offering such as the Quest series, its quite disappointing.

Garmin has also been horrible with listening and interfacing with their customers. lord only knows what obvious features Garmin will dumb down till it's unusable, and tells you it's a feature , not a bug.

Don't get me wrong, I personally have 6 Gamin sat-nav devices. Ranges from the old GPS V to their very recent Rino 530Hcx. It just irritates me somehow they tend to ruin a great idea. Its almost like screwing up making cold cereal.

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Alien

Re:Can't be worse than the N95

I am sorry to say that you probably haven't worked out how to use some of your gadgets properly if you think they can't show Lat&Long.

I have an almost up to date N95, which gets fixes quicker than the 1st Navman I owned, and it can show Lat&Long from the Nokia Tools menu.

Both Navman Sat Nav (portable car based units) would also show the Lat&Long.

OK none of them have shown OS co-ordinates, but that is what the ones designed for walking have as their selling point

(The Alien as we know they come from space like these sat nav signal things)

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Very pretty...

Colour LCD screen, so you can't see it outside, and probably not at all waterproof. Nice phone, GPS is a bit of an afterthought.

To the person having problems with the GPS40, the trick is to use it regularly. The GPS needs to know what satellites it's likely to be able to see and where they are at a given time, which is pulled down from the satellite. If the almanac is still valid the next time you turn it on, it will get a fix much faster as it doesn't have to start from scratch.

It also helps to be near where you were when you turned it off.

I wouldn't be without my Garmin NavTalk, I think I'd still be looking for the hotel in Nottingham it if hadn't got me to within 10 feet, and that was on foot!

Alan.

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I really hope it takes off because

they are right up the street, their actual world HQ is in Olathe, Kansas.

They do have the best navigation software on the market thanks to the new agreement.

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