Garmin and Asus, which had announced to sell co-branded smartphones last year, are now looking at terminating the partnership. Before the partnership, Garmin had tried to enter the smartphone space on its own with the nuvifone with navigation as its USP but failed to entice any carriers with its offering. The phone was manufactured by Asus for Garmin. Asus, too, was looking at options to differentiate its offerings from the crowd. So Asus had the hardware sorted out and Garmin had the USP. They were meant to be hooked up and they did. Things seemed to be working for sometime, until…
Until Google announced free navigation on Android and Nokia made its navigation software (thanks to its Navteq acquisition) free. Suddenly, Garmin Asus smartphones became ordinary. They became just another set of phones that had navigation services on them. With ordinary hardware and without a unique offering, their smartphone sales failed to take off. And as many pundits would claim they expected, the two companies have decided to call it quits.
Asus will now have to rethink its smartphone strategy. I believe they have a good chance with Internet Tablets, provided it can emulate the feat it accomplished with its eeePC range of netbooks. Its strategy should be to aim for a $300 (unsubsidised) Android Internet Tablet. Garmin, on the other hand, can look at providing navigation as an app, considering that it no longer would be bound by the exclusivity clause with Asus.
Too bad, I cannot even say it was fun while it lasted.