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GET TECHNICAL: Garmin, AT’T debut "Duke Nukem of cell phones"

After almost a two-year delay, Garmin finally released its navigation phone, the N’uuml;vifone G60, with AT&T this month. Many still wonder why its release was delayed for so long, since Garmin released the same model in Asia in August.

Garmin spokeswoman Jessica Myers said there were three key reasons for the delay.

For one, the company originally considered having an unlock option so the device would be open to multiple carriers, but once it received feedback from wireless carriers, it was forced reconsider. Secondly, its alliance with motherboard maker, ASUSTeK Computer, required some changes. And lastly, Garmin, being new to the cell phone business, made the mistake of making its preliminary announcement too early to generate extra buzz.

Despite the delay, the N’uuml;vifone is finally here. It has the same core features as Garmin’s other navigation devices, and the company has stressed that these functions are its main strength. The technology blog Engadget called it the ‘Duke Nukem of phones.’

The N’uuml;vifone has a 3.6-inch touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 3G modem. It weighs 4.8 ounces, is 4.4 inches tall, 2.3 inches wide and 0.6 inches thick.

The phone comes with 4 gigabytes of memory and a Linux operating system. It also has a transfer rate of 3.6 megabits per second and comes with GPRS, EDGE and HSPDA services.

Text-to-speech capabilities for verbalizing street names and allows for one-step navigation to address book contacts are also part of the phone’s features.

The phone comes loaded with millions of points of interest as well as maps for the U.S. and Canada. The N’uuml;vifone is a smartphone that comes with voice, data and mobile Web.

Other capabilities include a 3-megapixel auto-focus camera, an HTML-capable Web browser, a virtual QWERTY keyboard and an accelerometer.

Consumers who choose to pay an additional $5.99 per month will receive N’uuml;vifone Premium Connected Services, which add real-time traffic updates, white pages, weather, movie, local events and fuel price comparisons.

The N’uuml;vifone is available at AT&T’s retail and online stores for $299 with a two-year contract. Without a contract, the N’uuml;vifone costs $499. An unlocked version of the phone is expected to arrive in Europe by the end of 2009.

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