App Stores are all the rage only because they seem to foster a “competitive advantage” by reining in the add-ons people make for your devices. As the manufacturer of said device, you can open up the platform slightly and make some big gains in the marketplace. GPS personal navigation devices (PND) have been a cul-de-sac when it comes to third party developers. Proprietary OSes and data formats were designed to keep reverse engineers constantly on their toes and keep competitors from cloning functionality very quickly. TomTom innovated quickly in a market dominated by a fairly slow, conservative Garmin. Now that App Stores are the next frontier, what is TomTom going to do?
As smartphone started adopting some GPS navigation apps, and using the embedded GPS chips in some phones, Garmin could see it’s dominance slipping. They decided to enter the market two years ago to create a navigation/smartphone called the nuviphone. It eventually hit the market much too late and looked like an expensive mistake. But instead of being scared, Garmin changed their plan a little and now they are back with a strategic shift towards Google.