When I was a kid, way before the advent of Facebook and the internet, I’m sad to say my main source of entertainment was television. At the age of four I was bedazzled by giant shoulder-padded glamazons, catfights in fountains, enviable moustaches on tropical beaches, hey, I even had a ‘Who shot JR?’ T-shirt. My favourite show though, the one that actually had me sitting still for an hour (much to my mother’s delight) was Knight Rider. The possibility that a beautiful, sleek and shiny car could do so many amazing things was a realistic possibility at my grand old age of four and left me thoroughly disillusioned with Dad’s trusty brown Cortina. Since then, I’ve spent my years waiting for the arrival of that wonder car but, like most things from my childhood, it appears to still be a long way away. This nostalgia-soaked yarn does have a point and happy ending however, because those very clever people at Garmin have come up with the next best thing and it’s got everyone here excited.
The Garmin-Asus M10 smartphone is a fully integrated smartphone and PND with the latest version of Windows Mobile chucked in to boot. Unlike other phones with a free-standing sat nav application, this beauty gives you everything your satnav, mobile, digital camera and netbook can within one very slim, very tidy-looking 135g package. Featuring WinMo 6.5.3 it hosts the Microsoft Office Mobile package for business-on-the-go yet seamlessly intertwines your personal life with preloaded Facebook and Youtube apps too. The 600 MHz processor provides enough speed to keep up with the most demanding of lives and enough juice to power the 5 megapixel camera, music player, video streaming, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The most impressive feature on this phone though is the GPS.
I know quite a lot of you are thinking, “So it’s a phone with GPS on it, big deal” but seriously, this really is a big deal. The pre-loaded, onboard UK and European maps from Garmin provide top-of-the-range satnav functionality and as a navigation device alone, it’s impressive. Usually, when you install a navigation app on your phone you lose a lot of features you’d have on your standalone satnav – you can kiss motorway guidance or even basic turn-by turn instructions goodbye. Thankfully, the Garmin-Asus M10 smartphone embraces full PND functionality so hard – it’s the phone equivalent of your Grandma at Christmas. (Minus the reindeer jumpers and boiled sweets). Features include 2D/3D views, night mode, junction view and lane assist. And even more spectacularly, the Garmin-Asus M10 smartphone is also preloaded with millions of POIs, including phone numbers, which opens up a whole new world of opportunities. Imagine finding your favourite restaurant on your satnav and then simply pressing a button to call and make a reservation whilst you navigate there. Genius.
Navigation is fundamental to nearly everything you can do with this smartphone. Geo-tagging your photos, entering an address straight from the internet or an email, directions to your contact’s location – it’s all there at the click of a button. Result? Simplified navigation and removing the need for two or three separate devices. And the piece de resistance? Connected Services. This is where the nüvifone comes into its own and gets my KITT-sensor all a-tingle. No matter where you travel, the phone intuitively knows where you are and it will suggest local restaurants, entertainment, things to see, things to do and give you the directions to get there. It lets you know where your friends are and leads you to them; it locates nearby fuel stations and tells you prices, letting you choose which one you’d like to use. If you’re looking for something special, hunt down the store in the White Pages and it’s one click to navigate there. With the exception of actually driving your car, there doesn’t seem to be anything the Garmin-Asus M10 smartphone can’t do. Garmin-Asus have delivered a true personal assistant in every aspect of the word. So thank you Garmin-Asus for making life easier, making things simpler and most importantly, making every car (almost) as cool as KITT.
UPDATE!! For a short time only, the Garmin-Asus M10 smartphone is available direct to your door for £211.49.