GPS-maker Garmin is getting smoked today in the markets on news from Harman, and so let me speed-post a bearish thing I had been working on over the weekend but hadn’t finished. Too bad it wasn’t out earlier, but still ….
While I briefly owned Garmin’s stock after its eons-ago IPO, I haven’t held it since, much to my chagrin. Why? Because even if, as a male, I don’t need directions, I understand that there others out there who do, so portable nav systems are awesome things — and they have only gotten more awesome over time, as has been reflected in Garmin’s stock rise.
Let’s summarize the main non-Paul, non-industrial GPS device markets:
- In-vehicle: heads-up nav systems for cars, etc.
- Personal: Wearable nav devices, like Garmin’s Forerunner 405
- Recreational/outdoor: Boats, hunting, etc.
So, what is going to happen to those markets going forward? None of ‘em are going away, even if they have varying respective appeal. But I am increasingly convinced that GPS-enabled cell phones — with adequate software — will do to standalone GPS devices what cell phones have already done to wrist watches. I played with an LG Voyager on the weekend that does nice, live turn-by-turn directions, and something with better software — like say, a new iPhone with functioning GPS — would be a major short trigger for investors in incumbent GPS vendors.