Dec, 22 2008

Everyone knows Garmin, the company leading the GPS navigation industry. Most Android fans also know that the GPS applications available on the Android Market are currently limited to ONE application – AndNav2 – which is in Alpha stages and isn’t yet available for the United States. Worry not, because in the 2nd half of 2009, Garmin will be releasing their very own Android Phone!

This is incredibly exciting news but not all that surprising: Garmin announced their entry into the mobile market almost a year ago with the still unreleased Garmin Nuvifone and then they joined the OHA earlier this month. The next logical step? A Garmin Android Phone!

Here is a picture of the Garmin Nuvifone (Ths is NOT the Garmin Android):

An interesting fact to note: Garmin is outsourcing production of the Nuvifone to ASUS, a company that joined the Open Handset Alliance on the same day as Garmin. One can only expect that Garmin will outsource the production of their Android phone to ASUS as well.

What IS pleasantly surprising is their timeline for releasing this phone: by the 2nd half of 2009. We’ve seen the Nuvifone get delayed and delayed so we’re not exactly confident they’ll reach that goal, but at this point, you just have to be happy… or ELATED… that the navigation powerhouse will enter the Android Family with a device.

Tony An, Garmin’s Asia Pacific Marketing Director, dropped the knowledge:

Garmin will launch Nuvifone, its first GPS-enabled handset, in the Taiwan market in the second quarter of 2009, An noted. Garmin also plans to launch self-developed Android handsets in the second half of 2009, with production to be outsourced

While only Taiwan/Asia are mentioned, you HAVE to believe that the Garmin Android device wil be available in North America and hopefully, clarification will follow.

So this begs the question – will Garmin offer a navigation software for purchase on the Android Market or will Garmin’s proprietary, industry leading mapping and navigation software only be available for those that purchase an actual Garmin Android device?

I could see this going either way but ultimately, it’ll be about dollars and cents. I’m sure the financial gurus at Garmin are running contingency plans on every scenario possible, trying to find which distribution model will net the most profit/value/equity. Without access to any sort of numbers, I think they’d be foolish NOT to offer a paid application in the Android Market, providing buyers of their actual Android device with a additional perks and benefits that exceed the Android Market offering.

Lots to talk about… what do you think?

[Via CrunchGear, Digitimes]

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