Garmin Working on a GPS Smartphone?

The Investors Business Daily has published a speculative yet highly interesting article regarding the possibly entry of GPS specialist Garmin into the crowded mobile phone market. The mood of the piece, written by Patrick Seitz, is quite an optimistic one. Several quoted analysts think Garmin could stand to make quite a splash into the cellular handset field despite having no real mobile handset experience aside from the little-known 1999 release of the NavTalk GPS handset.

While not specifically referenced by the article’s author, a potential partnership between either Garmin with Palm would not seem too terribly out of the realm of possibility, despite Palm's recent collaborate efforts with Dutch firm TomTom.

Long-time Palm OS followers will recall that until earlier this year, Garmin was a licensee of the Palm OS and released three separate Palm OS-based GPS PDAs. In addition, Garmin continues to market and support a Palm OS-compatible version of their GPS XT software as well as a Garmin-branded Bluetooth GPS Mobile 10 receiver/software bundle that is compatible with various Palm Treos and PDAs. All of Garmin’s Palm OS and Windows Mobile PDA releases were solid pieces of hardware on paper that suffered from various OS quirks and some very questionable hardware choices. A GPS Treo co-developed between Palm and Garmin would leverage the strengths of both companies who are admittedly niche players when pitted against the handset giants of the industry.

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