Garmin Could Exit Smartphone Business in the next 6 months

Garmin hasn’t had a very smooth ride over the last 2 years. First Google Maps went all rogue on their systems, creating free “voice based” turn-by-turn directions for their smartphones, a move that cut out nearly 25% of Garmin’s stock value overnight and now the company has reported just $27 million worth of Smartphone sales up through the Spring months, that number’s compared to $5.33 billion from the sale of Apple iPhone devices.

Garmin CFO Kevin Rauckman admitted recently that smartphones were cutting into his company’s profits, with free mapping software costing his industry five to 10 million units in sales in 2010 alone.

As a result of smartphone sales and free mapping software, the cost of GPS units have dropped dramatically which means less sales at lower profits.

If Garmin has one thing going for them it’s that much of their competition have left the market due to a loss of profits, which has allowed them to discover a price floor for the time being.

In 2008 Garmin announced the Nuvifone series, their answer to Smartphones with GPS. The Nuvifone series offered Garmin mapping with smartphone technologies, unfortunately Apple countered their attempts by releasing the paid TomTom mapping service and other free map services for their iPhone devices, while Google Android devices debuted Google Maps with voice based turn-by-turn directions.

Garmin has most recently tried to ship the Garminfone with Google Android 1.6, unfortunately other Android devices were already being released with Google Android 2.1 and 2.2, making Garmin devices look and act outdated.

One thing has been certain for the company, every time Garmin announces a device, delays lead to months worth of speculation only to have Garmin smartphones arrive with outdated cellular technology and design factors. [Electronista]