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Garmin Limited and Asustek Computer on Wednesday announced a strategic alliance that will leverage the companies’ navigation and mobile telephony expertise to design, manufacture and distribute co-branded location-centric mobile phones. Garmin and Asus have already begun joint development on a diverse mobile phone product line, which will be known as the Garmin-Asus nüvifone series.

All Garmin-Asus nüvifone devices will continue the product vision of the original nüvifone and will be LBS-centric (location-based life) devices that seamlessly connect, communicate and navigate. The original Garmin nüvifone that was announced in 2008 will be re-branded as the Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60. The Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60 is expected to be released in the first half of 2009, and additional information about the Garmin-Asus nüvifone G60 will be released at the Mobile World Congress trade show already this month.

“We’ve been working with Asus for over one year on the initial nüvifone that was announced in 2008 on the basis of an ODM relationship. Learning from this experience, we concluded that by leveraging and combining our respective industry-leading areas of expertise at a higher level, we will be able not only to significantly expand our product line, but also to shorten our product development time. We believe that through this strategic alliance we are uniquely positioned to deliver the world’s best integrated and most compelling GPS-enabled mobile devices,” said Dr. Min Kao, chairman and CEO of Garmin.

Garmin-Asus nüvifone series will offer the same turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation features found on high-end Garmin portable navigation devices (PND). It has preloaded maps and millions of points of interest that allow drivers to quickly find a specific street address, establishment’s name or search for a destination by category. In addition, the nüvifone includes quick access to online points of interest through Internet enabled local search.

It remains to be seen what happens to Asustek’s own-brand smartphones that the company has been shipping for many years now.

“This alliance allows Asus and Garmin to seamlessly combine the strengths of both companies to offer market leading mobile phone solutions that are of the best design and highest quality. Asus and Garmin both believe strongly in the continuous investment of R&D resources to unfailingly provide leading-edge innovations to people and businesses,” said Jonney Shih, chief executive of Asustek Computer.

Tags: ASUS, Garmin, Nuvifone

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