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Latin America Welcomes Garmap

by diane 2010-02-17 07:24

Three companies along with Garmap, the South African provider of mobile navigation, will deliver mobile navigation services in Latin America.. Geo Center S.A. in Chile, Geosistemas in Argentina and ProMaps in Brazil will launch Garmap for Mobile Online, powered by Appello’s off-board navigation platform.

Garmap is a subsidiary of Avnic Holdings which also operates Garmin Distribution Africa, the exclusive Garmin distributor in South Africa.

“Latin America shares many characteristics with South Africa and lessons learnt in the South African market can be applied to the South American market”, explained Chris Crozier, CTO at Garmap.

According to Garmap, “research indicates that in 2009 Chile saw a 4.1% growth in monthly sales of navigation-capable phones to around 12,000 units, Argentina saw a 2.8% increase in sales to around 18,000 units and monthly sales in Brazil increased by 4.4% to around 150,500 units.”

This move by Garmap in South America is a confirmation that the Garmin mobile strategy (centered exclusively around Nuvifone) has not been well received by their local distributors in the Southern hemisphere. Two of the three companies signed up by Garmap are indeed Garmin distributor in their countries.

With the growing presence of TomTom in South Africa, this is also a good thing for Garmap to enlarge its activities to other markets and license the brand developed in South Africa.

In South Africa Garmap started as a distributor of Garmin products: outdoor and PNDs and established its own brand for the map data. One year ago the company branched out to offer its own cell phone- based navigation system under the Garmap brand as well as local content and even a lifestyle paper magazine and website, offering content linked to its GPS products.

According to Garmap its market share of mobile navigation is now over 20% of South Africa and represents more than 600,000 map requests per month. However, the recent launch of free navigation on Nokia smartphones is likely to have consequences for Garmap.

Garmap has also teamed up with mobile navigation application developer, Sygic, to announce Garmap for Mobile on iPhone, which, unlike the Appello-based solution, is on-board and can be used without network connection. Garmap for Mobile iPhone will be available for download from the iTunes AppStore from April.

“With this announcement, Garmap now has support for the widest range of operating systems and mobile phones, including Blackberry, Symbian, Samsung Proprietary, Android, Windows Mobile and, now, iPhone”, said Andrew McHenry, head of mobile at Garmap.

To succeed on the South African App Store, Garmap will have to compete against NDrive and TomTom, currently leading the pack for turn-by-turn navigation.




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