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Garmin's Android-based navigation smartphone
Garmin's Android-based navigation smartphone

Garmin disappointed in Android phone sales figures

Garmin's Android-based navigation smartphone

I tend to use my smartphone for navigation these days more than I use my standalone Garmin GPS device. Recognizing this trend, Garmin released the Garminfone and Nuvifone. Unfortunately, they haven’t been nearly as successful as the GPS experts had hoped.

It was a good idea adopting the Google Android platform for their navigation-centric smartphones, but the sales push really wasn’t there. As such, the mobile division hasn’t performed quite as well as they had expected. In the second quarter, the smartphone product category “contributed $27M in revenue.” That’s “below our plan.”

The Garmin Android phones offer solid hardware, thanks to the partnership with Asus and the inclusion of on-board maps (so no need for a constant data connection), but it’s still lacking in other categories where the more popular smartphones have been shining.

What advice would you give to the folks at Garmin to boost their smartphone sales? Is the focus on navigation an advantage or a hindrance?


About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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    thanks to the partnership with Asus and the inclusion of on-board map , Garmin Android phones offer solid hardware,

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    Garmin Android phones offer solid hardware, thanks to the partnership with Asus and the inclusion of on-board maps (so no need for a constant data connection)

  • http://alexbowles.com Alex Bowles

    I understand that the GPS included with, say, Droid or the iPhone can’t perform nearly as well as a dedicated Garmin unit (which I assume these phones match).

    Apparently this goes beyond the ability function where cell coverage is unavailable – dedicated GPS units also work (much) better in well covered areas.

    My assumption is that software isn’t the only factor here, and that the GPS hardware is also considerably more sophisticated. In other words, a Garmin app for the iPhone wouldn’t work as well as the same software running on an actual Garmin device.

    Assuming their edge does lie in hardware, the marketing should be able to write itself: people with ships, jets, and armies don’t count on iPhones. If you can, great. If not, Garmin.

  • Breaker4x4

    Will buy the app alone for my Android phone. None of the other GPS software works a good as Garmin. Taht is for me. I have also tried Tom-Tom and NDrive. but found them not a nice. Although Garmin will cost more that NDrive or NaviGon I will still buy it if it was available

  • Jordie

    While the smart-phone apps work well enough when in a cell coverage area, they fall flat when they are not. I see an opportunity to fill in or smooth out the rough spots. How about Android software and database files for…
    Marine, VFR Aircraft, Back country hiking, and of course Automobiles. To be worth paying for instead of using the free versions the software would have to load maps from an internal DB. This to support rapid panning. Also, traffic sensing and automatic re-routing would be essential. Very nice to have would be robust points of interest including traffic tariff cams. Maybe the Application for free but pay for the database and updates for some variable time frame. 1 month to 2 years on a discount scale for longer intervals. Smaller areas too. Why pay for 49 other states. Unless a trip is planned. Then get the database for the trip for a month.

  • kroff

    An android garmin app would be nice, but there are others in the market already (navigon, copilot, sygic, igo) and they dont do so well on android.
    the good thing about garmin is that they have very good road maps and especially nautical charts.

  • foo foofoo

    Garmin should target people who don’t want to pay the monthly data plan fees and yet want to have a combined gps phone device.

    • http://www.mobilemag.com admin

      I think a standalone GPS is essential for long distance trips, and remote locations. How much cellular reception do you actually get out in the back country?

  • butchyon

    Google Maps (completely free) KILLED the GPS business model. Garmin, Tom-Tom, and the rest of the pay-for-your-updated maps are now doomed. And why but an extra gadget when your phone will do it all?

  • http://www.godmode.com GODMODE

    What garmin should have done is release an android app of their software to see how android users like it to begin with. Having a garmin software centric device around an OS that offers to many solutions maybe was not the best idea (up front). I love my garmin, but I do not need an android/garmin phone. However, I definitely would buy it if it was a standalone app in the market.

  • http://ijstech.blogspot.com Isaiah Copon

    They should actually be disappointed in themselves seeing how this phone was delayed for around 15 months.