Hands-On With Garmin-ASUS nuvifone G60 and nuvifone M20

We just touched down in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, and two of the first devices we had a chance to check out were bew phones from the recently-announced Garmin-Asus partnership: the nuvifone G60 and nuvifone M20. Nuvifone M20 The M20 (pictured at right in 3 colors) is a Windows Mobile 6.1 device that has a custom UI overlay, which is clean and easy to use. Specs include a real GPS receiver and a 3MP camera. Its touch screen requires a stylus for the most part, and the user interface felt a bit sluggish to us during our tests; an aspect of Windows Mobile 6.1 that we dread but are used to. Garmin-ASUS is targeting the M20 at business users with features like enterprise  e-mail. We wish that the M20 had a physical keyboard, but Garmin-Asus has included a touchscreen keyboard that was easy to use during our initial hands-on. The phone is available in black, pink, and green, but we think business users will appreciate the black coloring best.  The M20 will be available in the second quarter of 2009 in the United States, although a carrier has not been announced yet. We found the G60 much more compelling, so let's explore that a bit. Nuvifone G60 The G60 is the nuvifone that we originally saw in Singapore last summer, but it's much improved. Instead of Windows Mobile 6.1, its snappy operating system is powered by a proprietary flavor of Linux. And it didn't crash this time around like it did in Singapore. Like the M20, it comes packaged with an in-car mount, so it can double as a full blown personal navigation device. It also has a 3MP camera on the back side.

The G60 also has preinstalled applications for weather, e-mail (IMAP/POP only, not push), and even Google Local Search for finding up to 6 million points of interest offline or nearly infinite with a connection. We liked the spacious keyboard, especially for entering in addresses in its full HTML browser. We loaded CNN in about 5 seconds in the back of a car with a 3G signal, and were able to easily zoom in and around the page. If you click a POI address on any Web site, it will launch the GPS and begin navigating towards that spot. There's also a media player on the G60, and we imagine there could be a music store or video store depending on the US carrier that picks it up when it hits the U.S. market second quarter. Unfortunately for music fans, both the G60 and M20 lack a 3.5mm headphone jack, substituting s a mini-USB port for both charging and adding head phones.