Garmin iQue 3600 Now Shipping

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One of the most highly-anticipated handhelds of this summer has finally been released. Garmin says its iQue 3600 — which integrates a GPS receiver into a Palm OS Handheld — began shipping to retailers yesterday.

 iQue 3600 However, a company spokesperson says this device is available in limited quantities now. Still, availability will increase over the next week or so.

Though Garmin says this device is shipping to retailers, none of them have apparently received it yet. Amazon.com still says this device will be available on July 30.

In a statement released today, the company said it is dropping plans to create mobile phones with integrated GPS receivers. Instead, it will develop products like the iQue 3600 with built-in wireless networking technologies, such as Bluetooth.

At the initial announcement of this handheld, Garmin representatives said the company had dropped plans to integrate Bluetooth into this model when ran into difficulties with it interfering with the GPS receiver. Still, it believed the problems could be overcome with more time.

More about the iQue 3600

This handheld runs Palm OS 5 on a 200 MHz Motorola MXL ARM 9 processor. It has 32 MB of RAM. Of course it comes with the standard Palm OS apps as well as GPS mapping software.

It has the same features as GPS receivers costing much more, including the ability to handle route planning and give the user verbal and visual cues on when to turn. The iQue 3600 can automatically generate a route from the current location to any entry in the Address Book. It ships with maps of either selected U.S. or European cities. It uses the company’s MapSource maps so many additional ones will be available.

The iQue 3600 is 5 by 2.8 by 0.8 inches and weighs 5.8 ounces. It has a 320-by-480 pixel color display which measures 3.8 inches diagonally. It has an SD slot for storing additional maps and a voice recorder.

It is the first non-Palm-branded device to use the Palm Universal Connector. This will allow it to use a great many peripherals already on the market, like keyboards, charging cables, and more.

The list price for the iQue 3600 is $589. However, Shopper.com lists several stores taking pre-orders for it at $550.

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