You had to know it was coming, folks. It’s been thrown out there that Garmin and ASUS – the duo that brought us phones such as T-Mobile’s Garminfone, the A10, the Nuvifone, and more – will not be renewing their contract once it expires in January of 2011. This follows murmurs that the launch of the Garminfone was a commercial and critical failure, as well as other phones beneath their joint umbrella across Europe and North America.
The strategy to combine phone and GPS made sense back when this partnership was first inked, but the market has changed so drastically since then. As the smartphone market grows faster than we could’ve hoped for, innovation knows no limits and knows not how to slow down. Google’s own Android comes pre-installed with one of the most comprehensive maps and navigation suites you can find, and many of their competitors either do the same or offer maps and navigation via download.
And while Google Maps doesn’t provide the same experience as what Garmin-ASUS’ products does – installed maps for data-independent navigation – there are many options in the market that offer that fine alternative for a much cheaper price than what you’d have to pay for a new phone.
So the prospect of a GPS phone becomes unfruitful, because all smartphones are now GPS phones. At this point, if Garmin wants to take advantage of the booming smartphone market, their only choice will be and should be to get their applications up into app stores for every major mobile operating system.
They already have a head start with Android, so don’t be surprised to see them making their way to the market sometime next year. As for ASUS? Well… I guess they go back to a healthy peripheral strategy and churning out more PCs that no one ever hears or cares about since the introduction of the Eee.