Sprint are believed to be in discussions with Garmin, SanDisk and Kodak regarding supplying wireless internet access for products from the three companies. The potential deals are said to be similar to that between Sprint and Amazon for the Kindle wireless network, and while no specific application details have been revealed, it's fair to assume that Garmin would plan a 3G-enabled PND, Kodak a 3G-enabled camera and SanDisk a 3G-enabled memory card.
Back when they launched the FR60 Fitness Watch in January, Garmin promised all manner of compatible equipment that would use the ANT+ wireless connection standard. Tanita are one of the first to announce such an ANT+ equipped device, in the shape of the BC-1000 Body Composition Monitor, that can send multiple stats about your physique to both the FR60 and your PC.
We stopped by to check out the latest fruits of the Garmin-ASUS partnership today at Mobile World Congress, in the shape of the new nuvifone M20 and the latest iteration of the nuvifone G60. The latter, although we've seen it several times before, still manages to impress: that's primarily thanks to the user-interface, which is GPS-focused enough to truly feel like a real PND/smartphone hybrid.
More hands-on shots of the G60 and M20 - plus hands-on feedback - after the cut
While the two facts we'd really like to know about the freshly-christened Garmin-ASUS nuvifone G60 - price and release date - are still a mystery, the pair of manufacturers are at least spilling a few more specification details before the handset goes on show at MWC next week. As well as the 3.55-inch touchscreen and 3G HSDPA connectivity, we now hear the G60 will have a 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and geotagging, as with the nuvifone M20, together with internet-connected GPS navigation including turn-by-turn directions, preloaded maps for North America or Eastern and Western Europe, and automatic route recalculation.
As promised, the first new devices out of the Garmin-ASUS partnership are beginning to show their hand. First up is the Garmin-ASUS nuvifone M20, a 2.8-inch touchscreen Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro device with dualband HSDPA, triband GSM and WiFi b/g. In keeping with the pairing's obsession with location-based services (LBS), GPS and navigation get top billing: it comes preloaded with maps and points of interest (POIs) – hotels, restaurants, stores, fuel stations and more – for North America, Eastern and Western Europe, together with turn-by-turn voice prompts and auto route-recalculation.
Apple's recent patent award for multitouch and gesture-based interfaces used in its iPhone and iPod touch ranges has flung patent law and prior art contests back into the headlines; now there's word that a so-called global community working to "legitimize the validity of patents", Article One Partners, have given a $50,000 prize fund to two researchers that turned up evidence potentially letting Garmin off the hook in a patent dispute of their own. Article One have now launched seven more patent studies, each with cash jackpots, one of which addresses Apple's touchscreen IP.
Toshiba helped us kick off the week with the announcement of their new TG01 Windows Mobile smartphone: on paper it sounds perfect, with a high-res touchscreen, super-skinny body and all the wireless connectivity you could feasibly ask for, as well as being the first device to deliver NVIDIA's 1GHz Snapdragon chipset. Check out our hands-on photos and video demos, as well as Toshiba's own GUI demo, and then try and explain to me why I still can't get as excited about the TG01 as I think I ought to be.
Garmin and ASUS have announced a partnership deal to produce a co-branded range of GPS-enabled cellphones, of which the first will be the nuvifone we've been waiting for since the beginning of the year. Now renamed the nuvifone G60, the touchscreen handset will be the first in a new range, the Garmin-ASUS nuvifone series, each with significant focus on location-based services.