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Report: Garmin eyes Android phones for 2009

Handsets based on the Google mobile operating system are due in the second half of next year, after the delivery of Garmin's Nuvifone, according to DigiTimes.

A couple weeks after Garmin signed up as a member of Google's Open Handset Alliance comes word that the company has plans for an Android phone next year.

Open Handset Alliance
Open Handset Alliance

Details, however, are scant. Here's the extent of the report from DigiTimes, citing Tony An, Asia-Pacific marketing director for the maker of GPS devices: "Garmin also plans to launch self-developed Android handsets in the second half of 2009, with production to be outsourced."

That quotation says "also" because the preceding sentence made reference to the long-drawn-out arrival of Garmin's Nuvifone, its first GPS-enabled handset, which has only just received FCC approval. The Nuvifone, Digitimes reports, is due in the second quarter of 2009--in Taiwan.

A representative for Garmin could not immediately provide comment on the report.

The brief DigiTimes item also says Garmin is bucking economic trends for 2008. Strong sales since Black Friday, it says, citing An, should boost the company's total sales of personal navigation devices by 50 percent for the year.

On eBay's Shopping.com on Black Friday, a GPS device sold every 9 minutes, compared with 11 minutes for an MP3 player, and on eBay itself, the most popular GPS device that day was the Garmin Nuvi.

Other recent reports have Android phones in the works at Samsung, at Huawei, and at Kogan Technologies.