Garmin Buys Navigon, Attempts to Fight the Smartphone’s Death Grip

Garmin has announced that they are acquiring Navigon AG. The company is purchasing Navigon in an effort to expand their reach and presence in Europe where Navigon is especially popular. Navigon also happens to sell some of the top-selling GPS navigation apps for the iPhone iOS and Android platforms, so this was a smart move on Garmin’s part.

“With Navigon, we are also acquiring one of the top-selling navigation applications for the iPhone and Android platforms – something that we expect will help drive revenue for the combined company going forward. Combining Navigon’s and Garmin’s strength also improves our competitiveness and standing particularly in Europe.” Said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and COO.

That said, sales of GPS navigation units are plummeting as users replace dedicated GPS navigation systems with their smartphones and tablets. Not too long ago, Navigon AG themselves stopped selling their personal navigation devices in the U.S and instead devoted their energies to just their apps. This move did indeed pay-off for company, since their Navigon app is now one of the best GPS navigation apps available on a smartphone.

So to stay competitive, Garmin made the right move by purchasing Navigon AG. The question however is how long can even popular apps like Navigon stay popular? With Google Maps Navigation being available for free on Android, and so many other navigation apps dropping their prices, it’s going to become more and more difficult to convince users to shell out $70 and upwards on a GPS navigation app or even get them to spend anything at all on one.