Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dash changes the GPS competitive landscape


The Dash Express, the hot new GPS featuring two-way connectivity, has caused a paradigm shift in the GPS industry. We have yet to see how broadly the Dash will be accepted, though they seem to have had a strong launch, with high initial shipments according to the sales rankings at Amazon (updated hourly).

There are a couple of key components to two-way connectivity:

  • Internet search – At least two other GPS companies are moving to integrate this into devices in the U.S., as discussed below
  • Crowd-sourced traffic – For now, Dash is the only manufacturer trying to bring us this feature, providing traffic updates via anonymized cell phone data relayed from other Dash users (though there are companies focusing on this technology that other GPS manufacturers could partner with)

While not a benefit of two-way connectivity, Dash’s built-in wifi will also give them the ability to push large map and firmware updates to the units.

Let’s look at the status of other GPS manufacturers as they move (or don’t move) to implement two-way connectivity:

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Dash Express first looks – price drop too


UPDATE: Read our full, hands on, Dash Express review.

Launch day for the Dash Express has finally arrived. I’ve had a unit in hand for a couple of days now, so I’ll give you my first impressions. Before that though, there’s other Dash news today…

Dash Express price drop

Dash has lowered the price of the Dash Express. You can get it now for $399.99 at Amazon. It comes with a three-month subscription to Dash Service. After that, a two-year pre-paid plan is $9.99 a month; a one-year plan is $10.99 per month, while a monthly subscription runs $12.99. Map updates are included in this cost. Clearly you have to factor in the ongoing fees, but I’m glad to see that Dash has brought the price down to an attractive level. This should make it quite competitive with other manufacturer’s high-end models.

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Dash Navigation wins best of CES honors from CNet and Laptop Magazine

Dash Navigation’s Dash Express has won Best of CES awards from both CNet and Laptop Magazine. CNet had this to say:

One of the most eagerly anticipated aftermarket car tech gadgets at this year’s CES is the Dash Express from Dash Navigation. Dash Express is the first portable navigation system to have built-in two-way connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), giving drivers access to a whole new world of information via the Internet and the network of other Dash-connected users. The system display real-time traffic data, which comes from the network of other Dash drivers, while Web connectivity gives drivers a points-of-interest database served up by Yahoo Local, with whom Dash announced a partnership last week. Here are some of the major functions of the Dash Express:

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