Asustek Computer launched the dual-brand Garmin-Asus Nuvifone M20 in the Taiwan market on Wednesday in cooperation with Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), targeting a modest 2010 shipment of 1 million units.
The M20 is the joint venture's second model following last month's launch of the proprietary OS'd G60. Local carrier CHT will be carrying the phone, which features HSDPA, a VGA display, 3 megapixel cam, and comprehensive navigation capabilities that earn it the Garmin name.
Weighing only 99 grams, the phone offers a 2.8-inch accelerometer-driven touchscreen, allowing users to operate all functions including digital camera and global position system (GPS) on the screen. This phone runs on the Windows Mobile OS, contrast to Garmin Nuvifone G60 running on Linux OS.
The telecom carrier will also be launching the Apple iPhone 3GS and HTC Hero smartphones in a few days, a situation that effectively defines the phrase hostile competitive landscape.
According to the government-backed Market Intelligence Center (MIC), which tracks information-communications market, Taiwan will ship around 12.5 million smarphones throughout this quarter, increasing nearly 30% from a quarter earlier , mostly thanks to contracts from Apple and HTC.
Asustek's launch of its smartphone would make it the second major PC firm to begin selling smartphones this year, just months after bigger cross-town rival Acer also began selling these feature-jammed devices.
The world's No. 2 PC maker Dell has also said it is working with China Unicom to develop a line of mobile devices for the Chinese telecoms operator.
Many analysts say the move toward smartphones is necessary for PC makers as their products become increasingly similar and as they face rapidly thinning profit margins.
However, the target of its shipment would mean it will have a market share of less than 1% in the fast-growing smartphone market, which research firm Gartner expects will grow to shipments of more than 200 million units next year, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
It's going to be extremely difficult for Asustek and other PC makers who are trying to enter the smartphone sector, said Andrew Chang, an analyst at the Daiwa Institute of Research.
They're completely different markets altogether.
Asustek gave its forecast after the Taiwan stock market closed on Wednesday, and ahead of its second-quarter results next Tuesday. Its shares were up 1.57%, outperforming a flat showing on the benchmark TAIEX share index.