July 26, 2011

Garmin Completes Acquisition of Navigon - NaviGarmiGon?

So Garmin has gobbled up Navigon, adding some real strength in the Euro-zone to the Kansas maker of GPS devices. The financial terms were not disclosed. A couple of comments mark the occasion, and there is no doubt that this will add some depth to the offerings from both brands. So while they are keeping the same brand names (I assume for now), I might re-name the hero in Garmin's old Superbowl Monster - NaviGarmiGon, the do-gooder who slays evil maps..... heh, heh.

From the short press release..........

“We are pleased to have the Navigon team join the Garmin family,” said Cliff Pemble, chairman and COO of Garmin Ltd. “We are looking forward to expanding our ability to serve our collective customers going forward.”

“We are excited to be a part of Garmin and we look forward to turning our efforts toward integration and the opportunities ahead,” said Egon Minar, Navigon’s board member . “Navigon has an innovative new product lineup that we’re excited to bring to market in time for the holiday 2011 season and beyond.”

A few thoughts about the marriage.......

Interface - Personally, I like the Garmin interface better than the Euro-styled Navigon interface, which for me makes a huge difference. While the Garmin interface has been criticized for being to cartoon-like, it's darn easy to use and to understand.

Feature-Rich - I would argue that Navigon both suffers and profits from its flexibility and its features. They continue to offer options galore on their PND's (the last ones I saw), and offer a feature-rich iPhone application (Inrix-based traffic feeds anyone?). With options comes some interface issues, but I like the flexibility and trust the traffic flow from Inrix; Hey daily Inrix users spend one less day a year in traffic.

App - Navigon moved into the App world a lot faster than Garmin and continues to have a pretty good lead on them feature-wise. Garmin is running a close second to TomTom in terms of Top Grossing Apps according to the iTunes store on my last check, but I think that's driven by brand name recognition and not Application performance. Is anyone else having subtle issues with routing on the Garmin StreetPilot App? I am.

Product Design - Garmin has always led here in my mind with simple designs and effective mounts. The physical look, feel and functionality award definitely goes to Garmin. While Navigon pushed the design envelope early, they fell down on simple things like the tactile feedback of the power button - "Did it just go on or not?"

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Posted by Scott Martin at July 26, 2011 8:56 AM

Recent Comments


Thanks for reading and appreciate your point of view. Read my site and my reviews on several of the Navigon models - yes, I have reported on the innovative "Firsts" that Navigon offered, Freshmaps subscription, Lifetime traffic, and more.

As you point out, all very good game changers brought to the US by Navigon, but you can't line extend a weak brand, and the base platform needed work to gain broad acceptance in the US. A few issues hampered their product introduction efforts like: Poor user feedback upon input on the screen, crowded interface, making data entry difficult, and while there are options galore on how to set up the GPS itself, that's overwhelming to most users.

So I stand by my honest assessments and reviews of Navigon's models, and you should read our "About GPSLodge" section - we either buy our GPS review units or use loaners like most other media outlets and don't accept payments for our posts or reviews. Your assertions of bribes or subsidization by Garmin are misplaced when concerning GPSLodge.com.

Posted by: Scott Martin at August 22, 2011 8:37 AM

You and other reviewers seem to be biased toward Garmin with their small list of custom options. Maybe its because you are all subsidized by Garmin in some way, but Navigon had all the innovative features mainly used today before anyone such as lifetime traffic, lane assist/junction view, larger screen, 3 year quarterly map subscription for (if on sale) $39.99, etc. Even Tom Tom had the lifetime maps before Garmin. Garmin sees how these innovations work with others before deciding if they are losing market share and need to compete. They have been trading on their name too long and their routing has become suspect. Stop taking bribes from them and give fair and honest reviews of the other brands.

Posted by: Joe H at August 22, 2011 7:05 AM
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