Asus and Garmin to go their separate ways

It seems as though divorce is on the cards with news that Asus will not be renewing its contract with Garmin.

The Garmin-Asus partnership, which began in January 2008, will not be continued when the contract with Garmin expires in January 2011, Digitimes has reported.

It quoted Taiwan-based handset makers, claiming that Asus will now go it alone with its branded handset business. This will allow the company to develop its own-brand handset business with more flexibility, including offering non-LBS (location based service) handsets, the sources said.

However, unlike many the two companies will remain on friendly terms and continue to collaborate on navigation software development.

Garmin may also benefit from the deal as it will now also be able to see other companies and  distribute its navigation solutions to other handset vendors.

Garmin had previously had a relationship with Sony Ericsson and LG Electronics, but after it got together with Asus, it decided to go steady with the manufacturer.

The cracks in the relationship have been showing for a while now. In September Garmin hinted it could leave the smartphone business due to low quarter figures.

In the second quarter, smartphone sales managed only $27 million, which was well below the outfit’s expectations, prompting Garmin CFO Kevin Rauckman to say he would make decisions within the next couple of quarters on whether the company would continue to invest in this sector.

That’s not to say the partnership hasn’t given us some good things. Back in January the pair  announced the birth of an Android-powered smartphone.