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Garmin Offers No Comment On Reported Asustek Split

10/25/2010 01:49:45 PM Eastern

Olathe, Kan. - Garmin's U.S.
operation declined to comment on a Reuters report that Taiwain's Asustek
Computer will withdraw from a partnership under which Garmin markets PND-equipped
smartphones under the Garmin-Asus co-brand.

Asustek is an OEM maker of cellphones,
including Garmin-Asus phones available since 2009.

In September, Garmin executives
said its PND phone sales haven't met expectations and that they would decide in
the next couple of quarters whether to stay in the market. Reuters reported
that worldwide Garmin-Asus smartphone sales came to only $27 million in the
quarter ending June.

 In the U.S, the company offers the $199 Android-based
Garminfone touchscreen smartphone, available since June through T-Mobile. Garmin
also offered the Linux-based
G60
touchscreen PND phone, available through AT&T since late 2009 but
discontinued by the carrier earlier this year, Garmin told TWICE.

Asustek's decision comes in the
wake of growing competition from other PND phone makers as well as competition
from many Android-based smartphones, which offer free cellular-delivered Google
Maps Navigation service. On many other phones, carriers offer their own
subscription-based navigation services delivered via cellular. In addition,
earlier this year T-Mobile launched
the Nokia
5230 Nuron
PND-phone at $69.99 with embedded PND. Pharos also offer
PND phones.

 Like a traditional PND, PND phones like the
Garmin-Asus, Pharos and Nokia models incorporate on-board maps,
points-of-interest data, and routing algorithm. Because the maps and navigation
brain reside in a PND phone itself rather than "in the cloud" on a carrier's
server or a Google server, such phones are promoted as providing multiple
advantages over cloud-based nav services. Consumers, for example, don't have to
wait for maps and routing information to be downloaded over the cellular
network, and unlike carrier-provided nav services, no subscription fee is
required.

In addition, PND phones can be used
for navigation even when a cellular signal is lost. In contrast, although most
phones capable of receiving cellular-delivered nav services continue to guide users if they
lose signal, guidance continues only if the user remains on the original
recommended route and doesn't accidentally turn off that route.

That PND advantage, however, is
also being eroded. Earlier this year, TeleNav launched its TeleNav
GPS Navigator 6.0 service
, a cellular-delivered subscription service
available on select AT&T phones under the AT&T Navigator brand. This
service, unlike other carrier-provided subscription services and the free
Google Maps Navigation service, reroutes a driver who misses a recommended turn
while out of cellular-signal range, TeleNav previously told TWICE. AT&T
Navigator service, however, doesn't eliminate subscription fees.

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