Garmin Mulling Future In Smartphone Business

When you think about Garmin, you probably think about one major thing: GPS. Here's something you probably don't associate with Garmin: smartphones. But regardless, they're in both markets right now. The original nuvifone was announced with a huge amount of hype behind it, but it was delayed for around a year while the iPhone came out and stole the thunder of every other smartphone on the market. Since, Garmin has teamed up with Asus to create the Garmin-Asus partnership, but the phones that have shipped under that label have seen a lukewarm reception at best.

The problem is pretty obvious: Garmin just doesn't have any credibility in the smartphone realm, and moreover, they're competing with flagship companies that do. Companies like Apple, HTC, Samsung and LG. Also, GPS units are becoming so cheap and so prominent, that few people see the benefit of buying a GPS/smartphone hybrid. It's just an odd device, and it's probably a few years beyond its prime. But it sounds like Garmin understands that they aren't in the best position.

Garmin Chief Financial Officer Kevin Rauckman recently spoke with Reuters, saying this about their position in the smartphone industry: "We're pragmatic. If we end up ultimately not successful with units ... we'll have to sit back and evaluate that and consider making the best decision for our business. We'll have to make decisions within the next couple of quarters -- whether we continue to invest or whether we pull back."

So, the company isn't calling it quits on phones just yet, but it may be soon. What are the chances that Garmin's fortunes turn in the phone arena? Things are only becoming more difficult with more and more Froyo phones on the market, and if a Verizon iPhone actually does ever come to fruition, the competition (including Garmin) can pretty much pack up their things and move along to the next big thing.