Garmin not threatened by free mobile phone GPS

With the likes of Nokia and Google offering free GPS and map data on their mobile phones, you would expect that GPS suppliers would be shaking in their boots. Garmin, however, is not threatened by the challenge.

In an interview with yesterday, Matthew DeMoss, national sales and marketing manager at Garmin, proudly defended the stand-alone GPS market.

“A lot of people are signalling that free navigation on mobile phones will be the death of the stand-alone device and that they won’t have a place in the market anymore. This is simply not true,” he said.

“At Garmin, we are not buying into that and are going to continue to develop technology.”

DeMoss said that the GPS experience on a fully featured device will always deliver a better result.

“The average experience on a fully featured stand alone GPS device is not comparable to that on a mobile phone. There are so many features that a fully featured device offers consumers,” he said.

“In the same way that camera-phones didn’t kill digital cameras, this is not going to kill stand-alone GPS.”

Even though DeMoss was confident the GPS category is safe, he did admit that the offering presented by mobile phones will eat into sales slightly. Due to this fact, Garmin will also deliver a new mobile phone solution.

“On the other side of the debate we are providing a solution for consumers who want a mobile phone and GPS combined. We have teamed up with ASUS to launch the nuvifone,” he said.

“This is something that Garmin is very serious about and we are not going to back away from it. For those consumers that do want an all in one device, guess what? We offer that too.”

The Garmin-Asus nuvifone A50 was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. The handset is powered by the Android operating system and features everything you expect from a smartphone, but will also offer turn-by-turn, voice prompted Garmin navigation technology.

DeMoss could not yet confirm pricing or the release date for the nuvifone.  According to the international release issued during the Mobile World Congress, it will be available in Europe throughout the first half of 2010.

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