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Magellan Deal Final; Mio Adding UMPCs

Las Vegas — Magellan’s purchase by Mitac has been finalized rendering Magellan and Mio, a subsidiary of Mitac, sister GPS brands.

As a result, Mio is shifting its brand strategy to include lifestyle products such as ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) in addition to portable GPS, it said.

Mio will now be positioned as a hip “boutique lifestyle” label, said the company’s new sales and marketing VP Jerry Barbera, while Magellan remains a portable GPS brand.

Mitac first announced it planned to purchase Magellan in mid-December.

Mio and Magellan will operate independently in the U.S. but the brands will share technological expertise, said Mio.

Mio’s first lifestyle product, shown behind closed doors at International CES, is a lightweight UMPC with full turn-by-turn GPS and Wi-Fi, access to email and the Internet, plus some PC functionality.

Mio claims the unit will offer near- instant boot time and a seven- to eight-hour battery life. It weighs about a pound.

The device is designed to let users stop at a hot spot such as Starbucks to check email or the Internet and then function as a personal navigation device (PND) while in the car.

The clamshell-style UMPC resembles a thin paperback book in size and is expected to ship in the fall at an estimated suggested retail price of $299. 

Other future Mio lifestyle products will also be GPS-based, it said.  

Mio’s strategy in the past was to offer PNDs that were heavily promoted in the fourth quarter. Mio ran some of the most aggressive Black Friday promotions in 2006 and 2007. Under its new strategy it plans to promote its products on a regular basis in a brand-building effort, Barbera said.

Mio also revised its 2009 PND line just prior to CES so that it is not offering MSN Direct in its current 2009 line, as previously stated.

Its 2009 line is capped by a Moov S700 with a 7-inch screen, and its full line, starting at $199, includes the iPhone-like capability to swipe a finger down the screen to scroll through points of interest.