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Garmin Releases Its First Apple iPhone, Google Android GPS Apps

garmin-pilotGoogle long offered mapping technologies for a variety of mobile platforms with its mobile version of Google Maps that allowed users to track their GPS location and to conduct local searches, with the exception of turn-by-turn directions.

On October 30, 2009 when Google first announced it would offer free GPS turn-by-turn navigation starting with support for its Android mobile operating system, the stocks of traditional GPS manufacturers significantly dropped.

TomTom’s stock lost about half of its value, while Garmin’s stock lost about a quarter of its value.

As smartphones become ever more advanced with operating systems and hardware that support GPS navigation, more people are choosing to consolidate different devices into a single device such as a smartphone.

The trend has significantly lowered demand for standalone GPS units, causing traditional GPS makers to launch mobile versions of their software for smartphones.

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Garmin developing Windows Phone 7 and Android smartphone

garmin logoGarmin, the maker of the popular portable GPS navigation units, is developing a Windows Phone 7 Series powered smartphone, coupled with its GPS application, the same version found on the company’s portable GPS units, according to a confidential source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans were not made public.

Late in 2009, Google announced it would release Google Maps Navigation, a free application for Android powered devices that provided turn-by-turn GPS navigation with its popular street-view imagery.

That announcement alone caused both the Garmin and TomTom stocks to tank.

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Top Business Tech Stories of 2009

We’ve seen a lot of things happen in 2009, some things were expected, some were not, some were shocking, and some were simply never seen or heard of before.

From the biggest Ponzi scheme ever seen in U.S. history, to the global financial credit crisis, to historic health care reform championed by the first black President of the United States.

A lot has happened in 2009, and we’ve compiled it all up for you with the top 8 topics of the entire year.

1. The Global Financial Crisis

With the near collapse of the global credit market, and unprecedented actions being taken by global leaders to stave off a global economic meltdown, the financial crisis was plastered in the media almost every day and even became a primary presidential voting issue, thereby making it the story of 2009. With billions provided in emergency bailout loans to financial intermediaries, Wall Street was still paying millions in bonuses with outstanding government loans, while millions of Americans faced forclosurer and high unemployment rates. The Obama administration later moved to block $165-million in AIG bonuses alone and later blocked bonuses from being paid while the financial intermediaries had outstanding government debt. Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathaway even reported its biggest loss ever (only its second loss in its history). There were also opportunities for firms to act on, such as Disney who acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4B. Despite households losing significant amounts of money primairly from their positions in risky equity positions, some did profit (though not for too long)…Bearnie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison following a conviction for operating the biggest Ponzi scheme ever seen in U.S. history that saw $50 billion defrauded from investors.

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Google to release free GPS turn-by-turn navigation app, TomTom/Garmin stock plummets

Well, we knew Google would do this sooner or later. The company has announced it would begin to offer free GPS turn-by-turn navigation with its new and free Google Maps Navigation application.

The application will be initially available only in the United States and with support for devices running Android 2.0 or higher (see the second embedded video below to learn more about Android 2.0).

Google Maps Navigation supports voice search, satellite view, 3D view, traffic information, automatic rerouting, among many other features you would find on premium GPS devices.

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First full GPS iPhone app almost here

The first more advanced GPS turn-by-turn navigation app to launch on the iPhone seems to be the MobileNavigator Europe app from Navigon. The app is now listed on iTunes and marked as “available soon” on the company website.

The app features 2D and 3D displays, most recent NAVTEQ maps with 2.1M+ European POIs, Real Sign Post display, Take Me Home function, Speed Assistant, portrait and landscape support, among many other features. The complete feature set can be found here.

The app currently only supports maps of select European areas. The total download size required on your iPhone is 1.65GB.

This app is very aggressively priced at $94.99.

The same company also offers its app on other platforms such as Symbian and Windows Mobile.

The other large players in the GPS navigation space such as TomTom will also offer their own iPhone apps (see the TomTom iPhone video here) given how lucrative the app store can be. The iPhone now offers TomTom the possibility of a real revenue stream given how closed the iPhone OS is when it comes to cracked software, compared to other platforms TomTom is available on such as Symbian.

The other big player in the space, Garmin, has opted to develop its own branded smartphone dubbed the Nuvifone (see hands on video) with its GPS app installed. Although unveiled on February 12, 2009, the Nuvifone is still not on the horizon for a release. Although unannounced, we can likely expect Garmin to also release an iPhone version as well to remain competitive.

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