You might not know it if you don't regularly peruse the less-traveled sections of your local electronics store, but Garmin and its competitors have been making impressively sophisticated GPS watches for years. They only escaped the "smartwatch" label because the buzzword hadn't been invented yet. Now Garmin, like Timex, is approaching the smartwatch from the other end, adding more and more features onto a design that's been present for quite a while.
GPSes used to be expensive and uncommon, but now half of the population carries one around in their pockets. That new Android smartphone you bought? It has GPS-functionality built-in through Google Maps. So does that new tablet. But get this - dedicated GPS units are still a thing, and I'm not talking about the kind that you mount on your dashboard. Today Garmin announced Monterra, the company's first Android-powered handheld outdoor GPS with WiFi.
Granted, this particular bit of news is only valuable to the (very) small crowd of people who purchased the T-Mobile Garminfone, but it's nice to hear nonetheless. The good news: Garmin has released an update to Android 2.1 (Éclair). The bad: it's a manual update.
The update process isn't complicated per se - but it's definitely more work than an OTA:
1. Download the software update package for your Garminfone which can be found here: http://www.garminasus.com/en_US/support/software/006-B1130-00.update
Garmin CFO Kevin Rauckman stated on the 9th that Garmin may be leaving the mobile phone part of its business on the side of the highway. Garmin has released exactly one Android phone that was met with limited success, to put it nicely. They released the Garminphone with an outdated version of Android and put it on the 4th largest (out of 4) wireless carrier in the US (T-Mobile). The cards were definitely not stacked in their favor.
T-Mobile has been forced to lower the price of the Garminfone as a result of very weak demand - analyst estimates peg the number sold around 20,000. The phone was priced at $199.99, a price most reviewers agreed was too high for a phone with relatively weak specs:
- 600 Mhz processor
- 3.5” screen
- 3 MP camera
- 2GB microSD card
- Android 1.6 with no word on an upgrade
- Focus on navigation capabilities
Those in the market for an Android device were able to either get a more powerful phone for the same price, or an equally capable one for substantially less.
Sorry for the punny title – that actually hurt a bit to write.
If you've been waiting for Garmin's half-GPS/half-Android-phone (phonotaur?) Garminfone to drop, you now won't have to wait too much longer.
According to Engadget, T-Mobile is going to start shipping this highly originally named device in June for a relatively steep price of $199.
Update: T-Mobile's garminfone site is now available:
Considering that a superior EVO 4G is rumored to have the same price tag, the Garminfone deal may seem like a steal to only the most directionally challenged of us.
A number of real-life photos of the new Android-powered Garmin phone, called Garminfone just got leaked to TmoNews.com. With the full Garmin navigational experience loaded into the phone, Garminfone is clearly directed towards those of us that may be directionally challenged.
Let's have a look, shall we? Here are the most interesting of the leaked pictures:
Here’s their initial impression: