Over the weekend I saw numerous reports stating that German GPS manufacturer Navigon was planning on leaving the United States GPS market behind. According to GPS Business News, that’s true. Navigon chief executive officer Egon Minar reportedly told the publication that the company has “decided to withdraw from the PND business in North America for the time being.” Minar said that Navigon’s Chicago office would remain open with a few employees to maintain the company’s automotive and mobile businesses and to honor existing PND warranties and customer service agreements.
This isn’t surprising. Garmin and TomTom own the majority of American PND market share. As both companies drop their prices, entry-level and mid-range manufacturers simply can’t compete. It’s too bad. Navigon is an innovative GPS maker, the first to introduce features like advanced lane guidance, reality view, lifetime traffic subscriptions, and map updates to North America.
Now that Navigon and Mio–to some extent–have left North America, Nextar and Magellan are the only competitors left for Garmin and TomTom and neither will be able to compete. There is really no impetus for either of the big names to innovate.
Well, except for that nice looking pair of Garmin-Asus nuviphones. But those aren’t PNDs, are they now?