Garmin, TomTom Shares Sink On New Google Navigation Feature

Ben Charny, reporting for the WSJ on the aftermath of Google’s announcement of maps navigation in Android 2.0:

The move sent shares of the top two navigation device makers reeling. Shares of Garmin fell 17.2% to $31.88 on very heavy trading, foiling any lift shares would have seen from an upgrade Wednesday from Goldman Sachs, which raised its Garmin rating to sell from conviction sell.

A Garmin spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Meanwhile, TomTom N.V. shares fell more than 20% to €8.11, a new 52-week low. The company also warned Wednesday that selling prices were 9% lower than it had forecast.

A TomTom spokesman was unavailable for comment.

I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from readers objecting to my earlier comment that the end is near for dedicated GPS devices. The biggest objection is that the dedicated devices store all the map data locally. That’s great, and I’m sure it’s essential for some people. But the writing is on the wall. Google is entering the field. Their service is going to be free. It is going to improve constantly. Surely, eventually, map data will be stored (or at least cached) locally on devices. Soon enough, Google’s service will be both free and superior. Garmin and TomTom are toast.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009