Garmin Nüvifone G60's tardiness could spell its doom

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    The Garmin Nüvifone G60 arrives on AT&T Oct. 4 – but is native turn-by-turn GPS enough to entice 2009 buyers?
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Almost two years after being announced to the world, the phone from the GPS gurus at Garmin is finally coming to the US market (and there's that word again.)

An AT&T press release spilled the beans Tuesday: the nav-centric phone will arrive in AT&T's stores and website October 4.

The price? $299 with a two-year AT&T service agreement, after a $100 mail-in rebate, or $100 more than an iPhone 3GS, and $220 more than a Palm Pre at Wal-Mart(!)

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Originally announced in 2008 to compete with iPhone – the original, pre-GPS iPhone – the Nüvifone now enters a smartphone market where nearly all entrants have GPS capabilities either natively or with downloadable apps, like TomTom's for the iPhone. Oh, an app store? It doesn't have one.

Still, it's based on the top Garmin Nuvi GPS unit. It comes complete with a pedestrian mode, a handy 'remember where I parked' feature (assuming you weren't driving a Zipcar), and rock-solid GPS turn-by-turn directions with automatic re-routing, so it should do well, right?

Maybe.

The danger here is that GPS has become so common that many already have a device that'll give them passable directions from A to B – maybe even in a standalone unit from Garmin. How many folks are going to drop $300 and sign up for a new wireless contract – from battered and bruised AT&T, no less – just to have just-like-my-car GPS on their phone?

CNET commenter carguy622 has the last word: "I think it's too late. I'm quite pleased with my iPhone and Garmin already has money from the Nuvi I bought."

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