When Garmin and Asus ended their ill-fated nuvifone partnership, Garmin gave Asus an exclusive for any preloaded navigation apps through the end of 2012. Because of this, quite a few Garmin watchers expect an announcement of a Garmin navigation app for Android early this year. But that may not happen.
A tough market and another option
The market for Android navigation apps is challenging; the developers must compete with the free and always improving Google Maps Navigation app that comes preloaded on Android handsets. Not that is isn’t without significant flaws, but at free, it’s good enough for most folks. The TomTom USA app has sold less than 1,000 units to date. Garmin has had more luck down under, with over 100,000 installs. Even so, when I saw this morning that Garmin had swung a deal with Samsung for preloading their Navgon app on the Galaxy Note 2, it made me wonder if Garmin wouldn’t be better off striking such deals with manufacturers. This would be a good differentiator for companies in the hyper-competitive mobile market.
We should know soon
Regardless, the picture should be clearer by the end of February, as I’m expecting an announcement one way or the other at Mobile World Congress. Which way do you think they will go – an app you can buy or a deal with a manufacturer?