Garmin and Asus Partner on nuvifones

Garmin and Asus Partner on nuvifones

GPS maker Garmin and computer maker Asus have announced they plan to collaborate on a line of location-savvy phones to be released in 2009, co-branded under the name Garmin-Asus. The Garmin-Asus nüvifone models will be shown at the World Mobile Congress trade show in Barcelona in mid-February, and the companies expect to bring several phone models to market in 2009.

Naturally-enough for a GPS maker, the nüvifone models will be location-aware devices that offer turn-by-turn, voice-aided directions and ship with pre-loaded maps and points of interest to help users get where they’re going. The phones will also tap into Internet-based services to find new points of interest, local businesses, and events, and support Ciao!, a social networking application that "bridges the gap" between a myriad of social networking services.

"We believe that converged devices are an emerging opportunity," said Garmin CEO and chairman Dr. Min Kao, in a statement. "This alliance is advantageous to both companies because it allows us to combine our resources and establish a strong foundation from which we will innovate and introduce the world to the benefits of LBS-centric mobile phones."

Asus had been building the original Garmin nüvifone, which was announced about a year ago and delayed in late July citing difficulties meeting carrier requirements. The original nüvifone will be re-christened the Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60, and the companies expect it to hit market in the first half of 2009.