Best of the rest from MWC: INQ Chat and Garmin-Asus Nuvifone

We round up the best of the rest at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Garmin-Asus nuvifone A50 is set to hit Australian shores by mid-year.

The Garmin-Asus nuvifone A50 is set to hit Australian shores by mid-year.

We've heard from the likes of Samsung, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, HTC and Google at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, but have you ever wondered what other cool mobile gadgets are heading to Australia?

Drowned in a sea of huge launches, extravagant parties and a mixture of irrelevant meetings, keynotes and boring interviews, we’ve rounded up two of the more obscure mobile releases that we’re looking forward to in 2010.

INQ Chat

Expected availability: April/May/June

We’ve seen the INQ1 and the INQ Mini, but the INQ Chat is the latest cab off the rank at INQ headquarters (pronounced I-N-K in case you were wondering). Targeting a younger audience and focussing on the low-to-mid price point in the market, INQ phones are heavily focussed on social-networking applications. In fact, the INQ1 was one of the first mobiles we reviewed to feature a contact list that integrated Facebook and Twitter accounts in a single profile.

The INQ Chat is the first INQ phone to have a full QWERTY keyboard and feels reasonably comfortable to type on. An INQ spokesperson said the company is currently in discussions with Australian carriers, and we can expect the device to hit our shores in the second quarter of 2010. What’s far more interesting though is the likely future availability of a touch-screen Android INQ phone — this isn’t confirmed, but when quizzed on the matter, the spokesperson said INQ was “looking into it but I can’t give much more away.” Stay tuned.

Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50

Expected availability: Mid-year

We heard a little about the original Garmin-Asus Nuvifone, which never made it to Australia — mainly that it wasn’t very good. So when we were reluctantly dragged into a conversation by an overenthusiastic Garmin-Asus representative, we didn’t expect to be wowed. However, after a quick play with the Android-based nuvifone A50, we quickly changed our mind.

The Garmin-Asus Nuvifone A50 is a fully featured smartphone with a built-in GPS navigator. The most impressive aspect of this convergence device is the integration with what looks like very similar maps to Garmin’s in-car GPS range, which are currently our favourite navigation devices. During the demo, the nuvifone A50 came across as polished, relatively fast and had some very cool location-based features. Our excitement intensified when the spokesperson revealed plans to launch in Australia mid-year.

Keep an eye out for both of these smartphones down under very soon.

Ross Catanzariti travelled to Mobile World Congress 2010 as a guest of Samsung.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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