Garmin Soars Despite Terrible Christmas


GPS maker Garmin’s (GRMN) shares are up 16% today despite a terrible Q4 and no guidance for 2009. Why are investors so excited? Perhaps because things weren’t as bad as some featured they could have been.

Or perhaps because Garmin said its first smartphones will indeed launch in “selected markets during the first half of 2009,” according to Reuters.

There’s no guarantee that Garmin’s location-focused phones will do well. GPS and navigation are now software features built-in on most smartphones — hardly something to build an entire phone around.

But the smartphone business, unlike the rest of Garmin, is at least growing. And Garmin is small enough that even selling a few million phones a year — a small fraction of the market — could make a difference in the company’s revenues.

Especially if Garmin’s smartphone partner Asustek can find some of the same magic that’s made it a leader in the “netbook” PC market — one of the only growing parts of the PC industry.