Asustek and Garmin have made their last Garmin-Asus smartphone, the two companies announced. Asus will instead offer its own phones, and Garmin will develop apps.
Add Asustek to list of PC makers-now including Apple, Dell and
Hewlett-Packard-that are also stamping their names on smartphones.
On Oct. 26, U.S.-based navigation company Garmin and Taiwan-based Asustek,
best known for its Eee PC mininotebooks, announced that they'll no longer
create co-branded Garmin-Asus mobile handsets together. Going forward, Asustek,
under the Asus brand, will instead introduce its own line of mobile phones,
some of which will come preloaded with Garmin navigation software.
In a joint statement, the two emphasized that they will continue to sell and
support their six existing handsets, including the Android-running
A50, the Windows Mobile-running M10
and the n??vifone
M20 and G60
, which were introduced at the Mobile World Congress in
February. Additionally, Garmin will expand its line of mobile handsets and
offer navigation and, likely, location-based applications through "certain
consumer application stores," it said in the statement.
Rival TomTom currently offers an application for the iPhone through the
Apple App Store.
"We are moving from co-brand to brand cooperation, and we will use
Garmin's solutions in our new Android phones exclusively for a couple of
years," said Benson Lin, general manager of Asustek's personal mobile
devices business, according to Reuters
Garmin "will be a very close partner," Lin added, declining to share
shipment forecasts for the firm's planned smartphones for 2011.
Garmin will consider the performance of its smartphone unit over the next
few quarters before deciding whether to continue it, Reuters reported,
following a September interview. It's thought that a move to end its smartphone
line could actually help to boost its bottom line.
Asus and Garmin will report their third-quarter earnings on Oct. 28 and Nov.
3, respectively. During their earnings calls, each plans to offer more
information about their individual future product road maps.
The navigation market took a hit early this year when Nokia, the leading
global phone maker, announced that it will begin offering a free version of Ovi
Maps, for free walking and driving navigation, on all its GPS-enabled
smartphones. Additionally, phones running the Android operating system have
free access to Google Maps, a Web-based GPS
solution. The Apple App Store offers nearly 200 mapping applications, and
Microsoft has also gotten in on the action, with Bing Maps.