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New Android and Winmo based Garmin Nuvifone

mvl 191 Points
edited November -1 in Smartphone Navigation
Garmin just announced new Nuvifones:

M10 will run on WinMo 6.3.2
A50 will run on Android (version not announced)

http://garmin.blogs.com/pr/?activeBranchId=newsroom

Comments

  • Tim 1481 Points
    And no mention of North America...
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Garmin just announced new Nuvifones:

    M10 will run on WinMo 6.3.2
    A50 will run on Android (version not announced)

    http://garmin.blogs.com/pr/?activeBranchId=newsroom
    I think the A50 is 1.6 for now. Also read somewhere (I think) that there's another WinMo/M series phone using 7.x to be announced sometime this summer.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Great video review of Garmin's new A50 nuvifone. IMHO, it looks like a very good effort. Saw this morning that T-Mobile's Germany parent is picking it up, tho no indication of the same here in the States yet.

  • Boyd 1985 Points
    So, maybe the next review will say something a little nicer than "Do not buy" in the headline? :)

    BTW, the Oregon 450t is Barron's "Gadget of the Week":

    http://online.barrons.com/article/SB126601890467445301.html

    But I found the following statement curious. For Garmin's sake, I hope it isn't true...
    While Garmin's stock (ticker: GRMN) has tumbled to the low 30s from more than 120 in the fall of 2007, the company is the GPS leader. Its only significant rival is Europe's TomTom (TOM2.Netherlands). Much of Garmin's future rests with its $499 Nuvifone, which integrates GPS navigation with a cellphone. As Apple's (AAPL) iPhone already does this, Garmin faces tough sledding.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    So far the A50 is getting a lotta love.

    Good comments almost across the board from those that have seen it. Nearly all are mentioning how customized the interface is, even making use of multi-touch and sprinkling in some features from the 2.x android OS. (Android 2.x is planned as an update for later this year). But according to Garmin, neither the M10 or A50 is scheduled for the US. Since the android-based A50 can easily be set up for T-Mobile or AT&T, I personally expect it to pop up on T-Mobile's network by summer. I can't imagine Garmin would let their apparently very good Android phone skip out on North America.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Garmin has an uphill battle. Now don't read into that by thinking I think they will fail-- if anyone can pull off an uphill battle it is Garmin. But they've got a number of things working against them.

    PND sales are flat to declining while other sectors like factory in-dash systems and smartphone applications are on the rise. Garmin's "Nuvifone" brand is out there with a fairly poor reputation right now.

    People purchase hardware based on its primary design purpose. You purchase a smartphone for its phone/email/web capabilities first; secondary will be a specific application like navigation.

    Garmin's adoption of Android is at least a step in the right direction. My wish for them is that they release an Android app for sale that can be purchased on non-Garmin/Asus phones. Motorola Droid + Garmin android app ... synergies like that will make for a winning combination. Same goes for the iPhone + Garmin app.

    Almost all other Garmin hardware is built around products where the primary purpose is navigation. The Nuvifone breaks that trend and I think people are going to have a hard time turning around into looking at Garmin as a general consumer electronics company rather than just a navigation company. Sure, apple broke into the phone market in a big way... but they were already a general consumer electronics company following on the success of desktops, laptops, and MP3 players.

    Additionally... and this thought is a bit more of a guess... but I think Google is going to become a company people increasingly love to hate over the next couple of years. I think they are going to develop a reputation and profile more similar to Microsoft. Like Microsoft, they will still dominate their markets with huge market share, but they will come under increased criticism. I see Microsoft has having a bit of a rebirth over the next couple of years.

    So in short-- I see people purchasing an Android based phone partly because they can run kick-ass Garmin software (so long as Garmin releases their app for sale) but I don't see droves of people going out to buy a Garmin phone because of its phone strengths. I just don't see a compelling reason to purchase a Garmin android phone over a nice Motorola Android phone.

    Anyway... enough of my rare dip into speculation. ;)
  • alanb 541 Points
    Interesting remarks Tim. You articulated what I have been thinking about Google and Microsoft. People love challengers until they dominate, then "love to hate" them as you stated.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    And in general Tim, I agree with you. Hard to think of Garmin as a phone supplier. Releasing a stand-alone Android version of their navigation app also makes some sense. But Garmin (and asus :)) may be convinced they can turn the nuvifones into an accepted and desireable line. If so, then they may wish to segmentize the Android phones, keeping the Garmin-Asus brand unique. I don't really know how Garmin (or TomTom for that matter) should approach the mobile market. Hitting it on the hardware side (Garmin) has potential, as does concentrating on software instead (TomTom). Right now I have no real opinion one way or the other as to which works better, altho it's becoming a real challenge to make money on a nav app alone. I suppose Garmin could take advantage of both, maybe rolling out a WinMo app, while biding their time on Android. I dunno. . .

    EDIT: By the way, Tim. Your comment several months ago not to write off the nuvifone just yet since Android offered good potential looks to be right on the money. Rather than rolling out a standard Android phone with navigation software, Garmin-Asus looks like they put some thought into this. May be hope yet :)
  • Boyd 1985 Points
    What is the "$499 Nuvifone" mentioned in the Barron's article? The G50? That's gonna be a tough sell with the 16gb iPhone 3gs going for $200. The current AT&T Nuvifone (A60?) is $100, including a $100 rebate.
  • Tim 1481 Points
    it's becoming a real challenge to make money on a nav app alone.
    Prices have certainly dropped. But I'm sure you haven't forgotten that there are fewer fixed costs with a stand-alone app; no hardware costs.

    PND profits = wholesale price - hardware costs - other costs.
    App profits = retail price - app store commission - other costs.

    Being able to charge retail pricing for an app versus wholesale pricing for a PND, plus fixed hardware costs likely exceed the app store commissions, so I think there is more room for discounting apps and retaining profits in the app space versus the PND space. I suspect TomTom, Navigon, Magellan, and for that matter TeleNav are still pretty happy with the prices they are getting.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    I'm sure most are making money (some more than others), but I'd almost bet that price erosion happened a lot faster than some of them had projected. Those guys are beating each other up on prices and "specials". There's also a pretty diluted market with too many players vying for the ball too IMO. None seem to have jumped ahead of the pack with the possible exception of Navigon. At least for now no other traditional nav manufacturer is trying Garmin's approach. Too early to tell if that's because it's a dumb move, or no one else has the pockets/gumption.

    It would probably be a lot easier to roll out a software package, but that's the road everyone else is taking, and may turn out to be the low road. What the heck, jump in there with the big fish (Apple, HTC, etc) if you want to be one. Apparently that's Garmin's attitude.
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    Just noticed Tim's Twitter link to an A50 article where it's referred to as "one of the most innovative devices currently available on the market". And PCMagazine today called the A50 "pretty great". There might be life in the nuvifone afterall, at least the Androids. If they can just get the taste of the original G60 out of their mouths. :lol:

    http://tinyurl.com/y9tbhp9
    http://tinyurl.com/ykvodqz
  • Tim 1481 Points
    Somewhat relevant to the conversation, and certainly interesting from my perspective: The Android Army
  • gatorguy 326 Points
    The blogesphere anonymity has certainly brought out the worst in many otherwise timid people.
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