Navigation device firm Garmin said it plans to open a research and development center in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. The center will hire as many as 40 people to work on the firm's wireless products.
In February 2009, Garmin formed a strategy partnership with Asustek Computer to design and release co-branded smartphones featuring location-based services. The partnership, called Garmin-Asus, is responsible for the nuvifone series of mobile phones. The long-awaited Garmin nuvifone G60 device launched in October with AT&T Mobility. The device features HSDPA and WiFi, and has the same core functions as a high-end Garmin nuvi GPS device, including pre-loaded maps of North America with millions of points of interest as well as turn-by-turn navigation.
Garmin spokesman Ted Gartner told the Kansas City Business Journal that Garmin expects to draw from the strong wireless talent pool in the Raleigh-Durham area. Indeed, there are a number of former Sony Ericsson R&D employees who likely still reside in the Raleigh area. In November, Sony Ericsson announced the shuttering of its R&D facility in Raleigh in order to cut costs.
- see this Kansas City Business Journal article
Sony Ericsson to shutter North American HQ amid cost cutting
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Garmin, Asus launch smartphone partnership