Please excuse my pun in the title of this report, but Garmin’s not too confident about the future of their mobile phone front in the face of today’s competition. Once upon a time, it was cool to want a Garmin navigation because – well – who wouldn’t want a phone with navigation features built in? Sadly for them, the market’s changed dramatically since they first stepped into the circle with Google Maps on one of the most popular mobile operating systems in the world making quick work of the competition. As Google continues to update their primary package – which includes an extensive suite of navigation and directions features for the drivers, walkers, and bikers alike – people are having trouble finding new novelty in a phone loaded with a traditional GPS and navigation suite.
Many argue that there’s still room for a phone like what Garmin provides in the Garminfone for T-Mobile – as Google Maps depends on a constant network connection to pull down certain satellite information – but that’s negated by a handful of readily available solutions in the Android market from major names such as CoPilot, NDrive, and more (and let’s not mention the custom solutions provided at the carrier level by the likes of Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T out of the box here in the states).
Garmin’s CFO Kevin Rauckman says that if they’re ultimately not successful – and that’s looking to be the case – they’ll have to “sit back and evaluate that and consider making the best decision” for their business. According to him, that decision will need to be made based on their performance within the next couple of quarters. I liked the idea of a Garminfone – and was ecstatic to hear they’d be continuing their efforts with Android – but the pieces to the puzzle just didn’t fall into their rightful places. Many of us here on an Android enthusiast site wouldn’t go near a Garminfone due to how crippled the true Android experience is, but many of us are a minority compared to the people their products are targeted at. Chalk it up to bad timing, bad marketing, or just plain bad luck.