deCarta to power Best Buy connected nav devices

top: BestBuy product - bottom: deCarta white label navigation solution
top: BestBuy product - bottom: deCarta white label navigation solution
deCarta today announced the shipping of its white label connected navigation service to a major customer in the United States. While the San Jose, California-based company doesn’t want to mention Best Buy in its communication, it is very clear the consumer electronics retailer is using deCarta and its partners for this innovative solution.

Best Buy will start distributing two devices based on deCarta solution on October 19: a 4.3-inch, Bluetooth Insignia NS-CNV20 at $499 and a 3.5-inch Insignia NS-CNV10 at $399. (read our previous coverage here)

Why Best Buy?

The fact that the first connected navigation to be offered on the shelves of a major consumer electronics retailer is not from one of the major PND manufacturer (TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, Mio and others) in North America clearly is a sign that those companies have troubles to figure out a business model for this type of solution. In the case of Garmin, the management of the Kansas City company does not believe in connected PNDs and has embarked on a much more ambitious plan to launch their own smartphone (Nuvifone) which has been delayed because of the lack of experience in dealing with wireless operators requirements.

In the case of TomTom the US product development is still lagging versus Europe where a TomTom branded connected navigation will be launched within a matter of weeks in several countries. For Magellan the recent management reshuffle has probably signed the death of the $1,299 (sic) connected PND that was showed at the CES last January. Mio has a connected product in Taiwan, but the availability in the US is unlikely to happen this year.

These two Best Buy products will first have to demonstrate the quality of their navigation software, but if the quality is satisfying it might divert a segment of buyers of high end devices from TomTom and Garmin interested in connected features: traffic, gas price, local search, etc. It might also give ideas to other retailers which are witnessing the market consolidation and could therefore be interested in having an in-house solution that would give them more leverage in their deals with Garmin and TomTom.

Related news:

Watch our video interview with deCarta’s CEO Kim Fennell.

Tuesday, October 14th 2008

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