Garmin's been teasing its entry into the smartphone market, the Nuvifone, for ages. And there had been suggestions that Asus was building an Eee phone. But the two companies have now revealed they're joining forces to make cellphones as a team.
The original Nuvifone will be relabeled the Garmin-Asus Nuvifone G60, and it's still due out sometime soon. But in the future Garmin-Asus plans to develop new hardware, running an OS that seems likely to be a version of Windows Mobile--rather than the alleged Android-based Eee phone.
The strategic alliance between these two companies makes sense. Asus' success in its line of Eee netbook PCs combined with Garmin's leadership in the standalone GPS unit market will create a powerful smartphone with excellent navigational services. "We believe that converged devices are an emerging opportunity,” says Dr. Min Kao, chairman and CEO of Garmin. The press release mentions the "benefits of LBS-centric mobile phones," the location-based services technology that is going to be a key component in future cellphones.
The alliance won't create a separate company like Sony Ericsson (whose logo the new Garmin-Asus one curiously echoes), and both manufacturers will continue to release their own products in different markets.