Garmin Set to Buy Navigon, Looks to Break Back Into Android in a Different Way


Remember when Garmin tried to make Android phones? Remember when they failed? Yea, that sucked. But they accepted their losses and moved on, but not before formulating a plan to jump back into the Android space in the future. We had hoped they’d treat mobile like other navigation companies and focus on releasing an Android application, and with today’s news that they’ve purchased German firm Navigon, we hope they’re inching closer to that.

Navigon has earned themselves a loyal following on Android with unique features that can’t be found in everyone’s favorite (and free) offering, Google Maps. Even with their expensive asking price, $50-$60, users have adopted it quite well, with some swearing by the company’s solutions.

The beauty here is that Garmin doesn’t have inexperience in this field – they have been a king in the navigation field for years and have the technology at their disposal to make great applications for Android. Adding Navigon to their stable will only strengthen their already impressive muscles. We’re not exactly sure what they’ll be doing in terms of Garmin-branded solutions in the Android market, but for the time being, Navigon will continue being Navigon and Garmin will reap those rewards. Read on for full press details.

Garmin® Ltd. Announces Signing of Agreement To Acquire Navigon® AG

Schaffhausen, Switzerland and Hamburg, Germany /June 14, 2011/Business Wire — Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN) and Navigon AG announced today that Garmin Ltd. and the shareholders of Navigon AG have signed an agreement for a subsidiary of Garmin to acquire privately-held navigation provider Navigon AG (“Navigon”).
“This acquisition is a great complement to Garmin’s existing automotive and mobile business.  Navigon has invested significantly in the European automotive OEM business, and we feel that we can rapidly expand our automotive OEM footprint and capabilities through this transaction,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and COO.  “With Navigon, we are also acquiring one of the top-selling navigation applications for the iPhone and Android platforms – something that we expect will help drive revenue for the combined company going forward. Combining Navigon’s and Garmin’s strength also improves our competitiveness and standing particularly in Europe.”
Navigon is headquartered in Germany.  In addition to its automotive OEM and navigation application for smartphones, the company has an estimated seven percent share in portable navigation devices (PNDs) in Europe.  In regards PNDs, Navigon’s products are known for their compelling design, performance, and innovative software features.
“We look forward to sharing expertise, technologies, and relationships between Navigon and Garmin in order to serve more customers, expand product offerings, and lead the market in hardware and software innovation,” said Egon Minar, CEO of Navigon.  “Our two companies each bring complementary strengths to the table, but what we share is a passion for customer satisfaction through innovation.”

Navigon will operate as a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd.  The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction will not be released.

About Garmin Ltd.
The global leader in satellite navigation, Garmin Ltd. and its subsidiaries have designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation, communication and information devices and applications since 1989 – most of which are enabled by GPS technology. Garmin’s products serve automotive, mobile, wireless, outdoor recreation, marine, aviation, and OEM applications. Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Garmin and Forerunner are registered trademarks and ANT+ and Garmin Connect are trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

NAVIGON AG is a world-leading navigation company from Germany. With own portable navigation devices and thanks to successful partnerships in the consumer electronics, mobile phone service and automotive sectors NAVIGON stands for high-quality GPS navigation for PNDs, smartphones and other platforms. NAVIGON develops software for all relevant operating systems. NAVIGON was established in 1991, with subsidiaries in, Europe, Asia and North America.

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. What ever happened to that Route66+Navigation AR app that was announced a while ago from Garmin and Route66? That looked cool.

  2. This does not surprise me.  Since getting my Android my Nuvi has been shelved. Maybe easier for Garmin to acquire a Navigation for the Android rather than adapt their current software. Which, while accurate most of the time, is pretty piss poor and antiquated. 

  3. I bought a Navigon 7200t(?) shortly before getting my first Android phone.  I gotta say that even though I hardly ever use it anymore, I still love the darn thing.  The maps are great, very nice and clean looking.  The lane assist feature is pretty cool.  I love the included free traffic OTA detector thing.  In my opinion it’s far above even the newer GPS units out there.  Most others seem so childish with their cartoon like graphics.  My only gripe with them is their support.  It’s basically non-existent.  Hopefully Garmin will build on this fine product and not dumb it down.

    I’ve flirted with the idea of buying their phone app, but haven’t pulled the trigger. It’s expensive for one. But I’m not 100% that I will find it that much better than Google’s included Maps application.

  4. I called Garmin up a few weeks back when TomTom announced their entrance into the Android market and asked why Garmin had not released their Android app (from the Garminfone) into the market. I was told that their exclusivity contract with Asus prevented them from releasing their product on anything but an Asus device. He also said that to his knowledge, there was at least two years left on that contract.

    This might well be a work-around for that problem.

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