updated 01:40 pm EDT, Tue June 14, 2011
Garmin confirms Navigon deal
Garmin on Tuesday confirmed earlier rumors and bought Navigon. The takeover of the German GPS designer is meant both to boost Garmin's core in-car navigation but is also aimed at bolstering Garmin's position in smartphones. Navigon's stronger-selling Android and iPhone apps would help push the company forward, Garmin said.
Navigon would work as a subsidiary of Garmin rather than be subsumed outright. Its small size let Garmin avoid mentioning the acquisition price, although leaks had put it at the tens of millions of euros. A deal had to wait on approval and was expected to close by late July.
Garmin has had difficulty adapting to GPS in the era of smartphones, where its dedicated units weren't useful. It famously tried to get into smartphone hardware itself with the Nuvifone in 2008 but, between delays and carrier reluctance, didn't have a product out until well over a year later. Turn-by-turn apps on the iPhone and later Google Maps Navigation mostly negated any reason to get the phone, and Garmin eventually bowed out of making phones to focus on apps instead.
Navigon was once one of the larger GPS makers but made a near-fatal decision to get into the US just as the iPhone was reaching the market.