Update: With the recent Clearwire merger with Sprint’s Xohm network, it looks like the new name will be Clear. So change my prediction to: Garmin’s nuviphone will be carried on the Clear network.
The last time we heard about Garmin’s nuviphone was during the company’s 3rd quarter earnings call. At the time the company confirmed a “early 2009″ release but no specifics. According to gadget blog T3, they’ve had a hands-on with the nuviphone over in the UK where it will be exclusive to an unnamed carrier. It’s unlikely Garmin would want to compete with Apple’s iPhone or T-Mobile’s G1, so we can rule carriers O2 and T-Mobile out of the question. In the United States the consensus has been that the nuviphone will be offered by AT&T but I’m not so sure.
If you remember, back in August Garmin and uLocate Communications partnered so uLocate’s popular WHERE application could be offered on Garmin products, none of which I’ve seen yet. It’s seems pretty likely that WHERE will have a prominent place on the nuviphone. Now think back to Sprint’s recent announcment that uLocate Communications would play a big part in the location-based backbone of the XOHM WiMAX network. Off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure XOHM is only officially available in Baltimore right now, though it will launch officially in Chicago, Dallas/Ft Worth, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia and Washington DC before the end of 2008.
So let’s pull this all together. I think the nuviphone was delayed because of delay’s in the XOHM network rollout. I think Garmin has been waiting on WiMAX to release the nuviphone so they can launch with Sprint, not AT&T.