Garmin Formally Bows Out of Smartphone Game


We heard they’d be drumming up to it before, but it’s official: Garmin doesn’t expect to be any more aggressive with their smartphone strategy. In fact, they will be winding down and will continue to focus on aviation, maritime, and standalone consumer units as they return to familiar territory.

It wasn’t surprising at all. Garmin-ASUS entered an aggressive smartphone market even before Google introduced Android and the subsequent release of free Navigation. A GPS phone seemed like a golden idea when the two companies partnered up in 2007, but that golden idea suddenly began to look bronze as competitors opted to create downloadable applications for smartphones instead.


Users found it hard to get excited about a GPS phone when their favorite smartphones already did the trick well enough. Their Android-based strategy didn’t help considering Google had already wowed their users with a free navigation suite. Even if Google Maps isn’t perfect, pricing ruled this market and free is better than not free, simply put.

Garmin’s solution offered a unique angle in that you didn’t need an internet connection to use the GPS features and that their rerouting algorithms were superior to others’, but little else was of worth. We’re still hoping they’ll reconsider their smartphone strategy and head to the app stores and markets of Google and its competitors (Garmin is offering their Android application exclusively for ASUS devices as a consolation prize going forward), but for now, it’s officially time to say goodbye to Garmin-ASUS.

[Engadget via Garmin]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. i didnt even know they had released a garmin asus phone until i read on here it was being shut down LOL. thats how under the radar these POS phones were

  2. I was one who thought this would be a great idea. But it needed the right hardware. If they would’ve paired this with a snapdragon and given a dedicated headphone hack along with a better UI or better yet vanilla android, we wouldn’t be having this discussion

  3. Apart from various whines about the software on the phones,
    car navigation works light years better with a bigger
    screen. Had they opted for a 4.3″ screen they might have
    done a lot better, but too late now. Google navigation is
    far from perfect, and the voice is ghastly, reminding one
    of a nun as she cracks a ruler over one’s knuckles. I
    would PAY, and PAY cheerfully, to lose that voice.

  4. My dedicated Garmin SatNav is better than Google Navigation on my Samsung Galaxy S (FROYO), but not by much. In some ways the Google Software is superior, for example clicking on different modes to see whole route, then each step on the way, zooming into intersections. On a recent trip to London I used the Google Navigation instead and it was fine except on the way home when I took a route I knew to be better than the suggested one, it did not re-route, but seemed to get lost somehow… but give Google Navigation another year and my Garmin SatNav will be a useless blob. Garmin will have to kiss their Asus goodbye…


  5. This is funny and a little bit scary. My wife thought that buying a garmin phone would be better than sliced bread. (Due to the fact she is directionally retarded). I convinced her that the garmin phone would not be worth it and that you can use the Google maps app on your phone. (Needless to say, I had to teach her how to use it, lol). I also explained to her that Garmin is getting in over their head and they need to stick to the devices they know. We both went to the MyTouch Slide. I can’t wait to tell her about this article. I love it when I’m right and I can prove it with something in black and white. Lol.

  6. I think a bigger screen would have saved it. 3.5 inch isn’t bad for a phone, but too small to look at for GPS when driving.

  7. WTF were they thinking? Exclusive with AT&T and then T-Mobile. Missed the Verizon / Sprint CDMA boat here in the US entirely, when AT&T had the iPhone and T-Mobile had better offerings like the Vibrant / MyTouch.

    Sorry Garmin, always two steps behind.

  8. It’s a shame they didn’t have a better strategy. I love ASUS hardware. They make great PC components. I’ve been using them for years for my computer needs. I really wish the Garminphone would have had better specs because I would have gotten it. But when it came out, it was WAY behind all the other Android phones…and it wasn’t even an upgrade from the G1. I think Garmin really screwed the pooch here. ASUS would have been a great cell phone manufacturer I think.

  9. LOL @ jlatnyc, if it was a different phone and not Garmin!!

  10. Google maps is great….as long as you have cellphone reception. I spend a lot of time in northern New England where there is often little or no service from any carrier so Google maps isn’t an option for navigation. The Garminfone was the perfect solution for me. The nav works flawlessly. It would be nice to have a larger screen, faster processor and Froyo though.

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