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Asus and Garmin untie their smartphone knot

Computer maker Asus and GPS maker Garmin jumped into the combined smartphone/GPS business with the nüviphone G60 back in 2009, and despite a series of follow-up devices and expanding to embrace Google’s Android platform, the devices have failed to resonate well with the consumer marketplace. And now Asus has pulled the plug, saying on Monday that it is ending its mobile phone partnership with Garmin. The move will likely put Garmin out of the mobile phone business—at least for the time being.

Although the broader smartphone market has seen explosive growth in the last year, the Garmin-Asus devices have failed to sell in significant volumes, and consumers have generally found the basic mapping and navigation functions that come with many smartphones are good enough for everyday use. Garmin competitor TomTom has also worked to tap into the market for improved mapping and navigation capabilities, releasing a version of its software for the Apple iPhone.

Asus is primarily known for making desktop, notebook, and netbook computers; however, the company also markets mobile handsets under its own name, separate from Garmin.

Industry watchers expect Asus’ decision to terminate its partnership with Garmin will see Garmin withdraw from the mobile handset business, perhaps focusing its efforts on bringing its navigation software and solutions to smartphone platforms like the iPhone and Android, without partnering with a specific device manufacturer.