After thoroughly killing public interest, Garmin sets launch for Nuvifone G60

AT&T announced today that the first handset from navigation company Garmin, the Nuvifone G60, will finally be available on October 4 both in stores and online.

Officially announced at the beginning of 2008, and expected in the third quarter that same year, Garmin's Nuvifone had an extremely strong initial buzz. Unfortunately, the excitement significantly cooled when the device's launch date was pushed back twice.

By the time it reached its third delay one year later, the company announced it had partnered with Asus for the G60, and the Windows Mobile-equipped M20. The partnership looked promising, but there is no mention of Asus in today's G60 announcements, more than 7 months later.

In the time that Garmin was fiddling with the launch of the G60 (which incidentally is not a smartphone) other high profile GPS-enabled devices have grabbed the public's attention to let the Nuvifone concept wither on the vine. Since the device's initial announcement, the iPhone has gone through two generations, Palm made its big comeback stake with the Pre and has since announced its second webOS device, BlackBerry launched a glut of popular handsets including its first touchscreen device, the Storm, and the whole Android ecosystem was born. It has missed an extremely high time in mobile phone technology.

What once looked fresh and exciting will be coming to market stale. The $299 Nuvifone G60 comes equipped with all the same features as a high-end Garmin PND, including the dashboard mount, a full HTML Web browser and e-mail client, and a three megapixel autofocus camera with requisite geotagging capabilities. Unfortunately, this device was conceived before the app store craze so it cannot have third party applications installed and is therefore just a feature phone with fewer features than a cheaper and undeniably more popular smartphone.

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