UPDATE 1-Garmin, Asustek in new phone cooperation

* Asustek to launch own-brand smartphones in January

* New Android phones will use Garmin’s navigation software

* Asustek shrs end down 2.85 pct, vs TAIEX’s 0.44 pct gain
(Adds quotes and details)

BANGALORE/TAIPEI, Oct 26 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S.-based Garmin
(GRMN.O: ) and Taiwan’s Asustek (2357.TW: ) announced new
cooperation strategies on mobile phones on Tuesday, with Asustek
launching its own-brand smartphones from next year.

Asustek, which had been selling smartphones under the
Garmin-Asus brand since early 2009, will not introduce new
co-branded handset models in the future, while Asustek’s new
Android-based phones will use Garmin’s navigation software.

In September, Garmin, the No. 1 U.S. maker of personal
navigation devices (PNDs), told Reuters it will determine during
the next couple of quarters the future of its struggling
smartphone unit, noting it is ready to exit the business if it
does not achieve success. [ID:nLDE6881WD]

For Garmin, the smartphone exit could improve its earnings
and ease the investments it’s been making to take a role in the
competitive smartphone market.

“We are moving from co-brand to brand cooperation, and we
will use Garmin’s solutions in our new Android phones exclusively
for a couple of years,” Benson Lin, general manager of Asustek’s
personal mobile devices business, told reporters in Taipei.

“It (Garmin) will be a very close partner,” said Lin, who
declined to give shipment forecasts of the firm’s new smartphones
next year.

However, Garmin said it will continue to sell and support
models that have already been introduced to the market, and plans
to offer navigation and other applications through certain
consumer application stores.

Analysts say Garmin could now be at liberty to pursue the
business of selling navigation applications for the iPhone and
Android devices. Its Dutch rival, TomTom (TOM2.AS: ), offers an
application for the Apple (AAPL.O: ) iPhone.
(US$1=T$30.6)
(Reporting by Baker Li; Editing by Ken Wills)

UPDATE 1-Garmin, Asustek in new phone cooperation