The Garmin nuvifone - Top wireless turkeys of 2009

Why is it a turkey?
The Garmin nuvifone--which combines the features of a smartphone with Garmin's personal navigation tools--was gestating for a long time. Announced way back in January 2008, the device received FCC approval in December 2008. Then, in February 2009 Garmin and Asustek Computer formed a strategic partnership to design and release co-branded smartphones featuring location-based services.

The companies gave some details about their flagship device, the G60, ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The device had a 3.55-inch display, HSDPA and WiFi. It also featured many LBS functions, including pre-loaded maps of North America and Eastern or Western Europe, with turn-by-turn directions and millions of points of interest.

The device never came though. In June, Garmin said that it would launch the nuvifone in Asia in July, but the product's North American and European launches were on hold. Then, finally, at the end of September AT&T announced that it would launch the G60 Oct. 4 for $299 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. The companies said that Garmin's Premium Connected Service--which included traffic updates, white pages, weather, movie, local events and fuel price information--would be available for $5.99 per month after a 30-day trial.

But between the time nuvifone was first announced to when AT&T launched the device, more and more phones became equipped with assisted-GPS, limiting the nuvifone's advantages over other phones. Additionally, with the launch of Google's free Google Maps Navigation app, which offers spoken turn-by-turn navigation on Android 2.0 devices (right now, just the Motorola Droid), the position that traditional navigation players like Garmin have enjoyed seems a little less commanding.

The Garmin nuvifone - Top wireless turkeys of 2009