Every Android phone in the U.S. features a built in GPS, but only one of them is made by Garmin. The smartphone that navigates your life is now available from T-Mobile. While the Garminfone might not have the most impressive specs, it’s the first to combine an Android-powered smartphone with a Garmin GPS navigation device.
For starters, the Garminfone is available for $449.99 at full price or $199.99 with 2-year contract (after a $50 mail in rebate). This places the Garminfone as the highest priced Android phone on T-Mobile, even above the new myTouch 3G Slide. However, it does come with a car mount kit, which includes a car charger, cradle, and dash mount.
Unfortunately, the Garminfone ships with last year’s Android 1.6 firmware. No announcements have been made about an Android 2.x upgrade and I would not hold my breath on one. I fully expect this phone will remain on Android 1.6, but I would love to be proven wrong.
The specs of the Garminfone are pretty standard for a mid-range Android phone. Powering the device is the 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 (ARM11) paired with a 3.5 inch HVGA display, and 3 megapixel camera.
The major advantage of the Garminfone software is its on-board North American maps. This allows users to get directions anytime, whether in or out of cell phone coverage. The Garminfone also uses multiple overlapping positioning technologies (four different satellite signals) to ensure customers have one of the best location and navigation experiences a smartphone can offer. Other unique features include the Garmin Voice Studio app which allows users to record custom voice directions to share with family and friends.
I’ve never used the Garminfone, so there is no way I can recommend it. I’m quite happy with the free Google Maps Navigation and if I could only buy one Android phone from a T-Mobile store, it would be the new myTouch 3G Slide.
Is there anyone out there who wants this Android phone compared to the competition? Let me know if I’m missing the point. The GPS features are nice, but I would rather have a full fledged GPS device and not compromise my smartphone specs. On the other hand, T-Mobile has yet to offer a true high-end Android phone (1 GHz or above), so this is about as good as it gets.