Garmin admits nuvifone a 'disappointment'

Garmin said it has so far been "disappointed" with sales of its nuvifone products, but said it is excited about its latest smartphone launches. The remarks, made during Garmin's fourth-quarter earnings presentation, are the clearest indication yet that the company's  partnership with Asustek Computer has so far failed to gain traction in the highly competitive smartphone market.

"While disappointed by sales of the nuvifone products to date, we are excited to be launching two next generation smartphones in the first half of 2010 and feel these devices will be well-positioned in this competitive market," the company said in a statement.

The company, which is hoping its turn-by-turn navigation prowess will translate into smartphone sales, has so far introduced one smartphone model in the United States: the G60 with AT&T Mobility, introduced last fall. The company recently unveiled another Windows Mobile phone as well as its first phone running Google's Android platform.

Garmin's value proposition in the smartphone space has come under pressure recently as both Google and Nokia have unveiled free navigation software for smartphones. The efforts are seen as challenges to premium navigation service providers. Nevertheless, Garmin is pushing ahead with its mobile play. The company in January disclosed plans to open a research and development center in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, where it will employ as many as 40 people to work on its wireless products.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Reuters article

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