The Taiwanese GPS and communications products developer and manufacturer Garmin Corporation has joined the Google-dominated (GOOG) Open Handset Alliance.
The company is currently considering, according to media in Taiwan, developing handsets based on the open source Android platform and the ones based on the Linux platform concurrently. Its first Android handset is expected to be launched in the second half of 2009.
As one of the largest GPS products manufacturers in the world, Garmin has three plants in Taiwan. All of its GPS products are produced in its own plants with parts of its chips provided by the Taiwan-based chip manufacturer MediaTek. The company's history in the mobile phone sector is not long and it cooperates with Asus in the production of mobile phones. However, Asus may not be chosen as the producer of Garmin's Android handsets.
Garmin originally used a self-developed operating system based on the Linux platform in its handset products. The system is similar with those of Apple and RIM's BlackBerry handsets, which is a proprietary operating system. However, for the future development of its handset business, the company decided to join the Open Handset Alliance and develop Android handsets.