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AT&T to start selling Garmin nuvifone in Oct.

/ Source: The Associated Press

After more than a year of delays, Garmin Ltd.'s GPS unit/wireless device hybrid nuvifone is finally going on sale in the U.S.

Garmin, based in the Cayman Islands with headquarters in Olathe, Kan., said Tuesday AT&T Inc. will begin selling the nuvifone G60 on an exclusive basis beginning Oct. 4 at AT&T stores and online. The device will sell for $299 with a two-year agreement and $100 mail-in rebate.

The nuvifone, already on sale in parts of Asia, is a touch-screen device with many of the standard features of high-end phones, including a Web browser and 3 megapixel digital camera. It also shares features of Garmin's line of Global Positioning System-powered devices, and can provide turn-by-turn driving directions, traffic warnings and a search engine for nearby restaurants and stores.

Announced in January 2008, the nuvifone is Garmin's entry into the cellular phone market and is considered key to the company's future. Cell phone carriers have increasingly been chipping away at Garmin's market, adding navigational features to their phones.

But the nuvifone's commercial release has been delayed repeatedly — it was originally scheduled to be on sale in the first half of this year — as Garmin has worked to iron out technical issues and negotiate with wireless providers to carry the device.

In February, Garmin said it was teaming up with Taiwan-based Asustek Computer Inc. to develop and produce a cobranded line of feature-rich mobile phones.

Garmin shares added 35 cents to $37.20 in morning Tuesday while shares of Dallas-based AT&T slid 24 cents to $27.19.