Dash News

June 5, 2009

RIM/BlackBerry buys Dash Navigation

RIM bought the pioneering GPS maker Dash Navigation, or what was left of it, which should offer a significant capability if it can be well adapted for the BlackBerry format. The Dash Navigation GPS went public with their groundbreaking idea back in 2006, received awards at it's CES announcement, went on sale in March 2008, and then after a slow launch, pulled the hardware hoping to launch the great traffic capabilities through a different platform. Well that strategy may have come true in a different way - not selling the capability to numerous hardware makers, but getting bought by that hardware maker.

The traffic capabilities are still well loved by the remaining Dash users, who may get their wish to see the capabilities grow instead of die on the vine.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

November 3, 2008

Dash Navigation - Change on the Horizon - Lays off Staff

Word has come out that Dash Navigation is changing its approach to its business model, and in doing so, laying off 50 employees, leaving the hardware business, and concentrating its focus and going Business to Business.

Wow; that will change its offering and its value proposition in the marketplace. According to Gigaom, they will be laying off 50 employees, and keeping abut 30 mostly engineering positions that will support their software based business model going forward. As they do go forward, they will be targeting other hardware, think phones and maybe OEM navigation devices in cars, so that they are out of the cutthroat GPS hardware business. They will continue to support current users.

The traffic collection and processing capabilities are advanced, and in my opinion, highly accurate, but the Dash Express ran into a lot of barriers to its success:

  • Entrenched competition with growing downward price pressure.
  • Monthly payments that were hard to get people to buy into
  • A good interface and overall navigation solution, but not an amazing one.
  • The Economy.... don't under estimate what a sagging economy did to this high end launch.

    I loved the promise of the Dash Express better than the reality of it. I found that while I knew that getting up to Boston would take 1:12 minutes, the route that was plotted out still stunk. What about all of those surface roads that "must" offer a faster route? I realized that I don't think that they existed. It may just be a sad reality that I don't need the super advanced routing but just a consistent and accurate read on what my various travel times are going to be.

    Poisoned Pond?
    A lot of people talk about a poisoned pond effect where the failure of the first offering out ruins the ability of others to follow. Well, the Insignia CNV-10 and CNV-20 are following in the connected GPS pathway, but let me tell you, if Dash made the pond slightly unpalatable, the Insignia will ruin it like dumping a drum full of toxic waste. I hope that TomTom's HD, and Garmin's work on the Nuvifone somehow come to the US and offer not only the promise, but the scale to make a true difference in everyday lives of the masses out there. If they can't, maybe I can buy the new Dash software for my iPhone.....

    Thanks Jeff for sending this in.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • October 15, 2008

    Ads on your GPS - Driving the Future of GPS Capabilities?

    Garmin recently announced that they are offering free traffic feeds to their Nuvi 755T, 765T, 775T and 785T units via small ads that come up every now and then. When using the Nuvi 755T for my Full Review, I found them unobtrusive, and a natural fit to what I was doing or where I was going; it got me thinking about where this will all lead. If you hadn't noticed, the stocks of Garmin and TomTom are down about 70% and 80% YTD, respectively indicating that the markets aren't convinced that these businesses have the growth ahead of them that we have seen in recent years, where 100% year over year profit growth was possible. With margins being where they are, GPS manufacturers may only be making $20 on each low end device, which is not a lot when you consider the work that they are doing to get such a device to the market. The idea of ad supported GPS units may offer the residual income that so many businesses seek with their offerings from Tivos to razors and satellite radios. What's the potential for GPS?

    Ad Supported FM-based Traffic Feeds - Quick Ad, POI Listing


    These are here now, with the Garmin introductions. Previously costing users about $60+ a year Traffic feeds give you the ability to route around traffic problems is big. I have long thought that this is a huge need that is partially met by the current mix of data feeds and low bandwidth capabilities of the FM-based TMC network (or MSN network). Broad swaths of generalized traffic trends allow good GPS units to help figure out the big problem spots. Big step up from the guy in the traffic copter. The ads are small (shown right - an ad from the Nuvi 755T) and when tapped connect you to a Points of Interest list of those stores or locations - pretty basic, but it's a start. Basic ads gives you $60 a year in value.

    Intelligent Ads with Unique Offers - Daily Use

    With the launch of the Dash Express this year, two way connected GPS units starbuckslogoRT.jpgushered in the wave of higher bandwidth more intelligent data feeds. With better bandwidth and better interactivity, a more intelligent ad network can be had too. Can you imagine the confluence of a few data feeds to drive targeted marketing: 1) "Home" location and zip code, 2) Frequent search topics on the GPS, 3) Current location, 4) Time of Day, and 5) Travel habit profiling - daily commuter vs. business traveler. With this information fed back to ad servers, highly targeted offers can be made, and thus be more lucrative for the GPS make

    • If you ever search for a coffee shop in the afternoons while on the road, why wouldn't Starbucks send you an ad when you are within a less than mile of their store with a coupon code for $1 off your Venti?
    • If you are a business traveler, why wouldn't restaurants start pushing ads for dinner when it's later in the day knowing that you always look for a place to eat when you are on the road?
    • When Target knows that you drive to their parking lot every other week, why wouldn't they send the latest announcement to entice you back and keep you as a loyal shopper?

    The possibilities are either endless or scary depending on your sentiment, but this is all dependent on a two way exchange of data between a highly intelligent GPS, and a data crunching server somewhere. For this you'll need connected GPS. Better, more targeted ads could possibly cover the current $120+ per year annual fee for this cellular connected service. While you are at it, throw in free Map Updates once this model matures. Advanced Targeting, rich ads = Higher Value Freebies like a connected subscription and free map updates.

    Interface, Interface, Interface

    Like the rule of real estate where location is king, the interface rules the GPS world, and only a couple of makers are currently up to the task. I am pretty sure that Garmin worked hard to make sure that their initial offering with the Nuvi 755T and its siblings was very well thought out made to be not at all polarizing. The next step of bringing richer, more obtrusive and more informational ads will bring new challenges. With the maturation of the Web, and the serving of its ads (Think Google here), the idea of data crunching and serving up relevant ads seems like a small hurdle, it's striking that balance between obnoxious and unseen. We all hate pop-up ads on a web page, but we won't swerve off the road trying to "X" out of them while sitting at our computer desk; these can't be the norm on a GPS device. Advertisers won't pay to be unseen either. The true art will be knowing the consumer and knowing how to subtly bump them while not interfering with the navigation experience.

    There are a lot of possibilities for rewards if ads are done right, and the potential to save the GPS companies from this recent slide, but ads need to be expertly integrated into the interface so that they are seamless and relevant. If they are, consumer, and businesses will benefit through better services and better offerings. Looks like a lot of fun ahead; I can't wait to see the possibilities.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    September 10, 2008

    Dash Express - Voice Command - TellMe and Dial Directions Partnerships


    Dash Navigation has announced that there are two new plug-ins for their connected GPS unit that allow you to send voice commands to your Dash Navigation unit. THrough the open source platform, Dash has allowed developers to plug into the world's first connected navigator. The first announcement is from DialDirections; this one is easy:

    Dial 1-DIRECTIONS on your mobile phone, and go through the very simple voice prompts to get directions from one location to another. Seems like a stupid thing to do when you have a Dash Express sitting right in front of you, et? Yes, but imagine when you are away from the car.... Call 1-DIRECTIONS and if you registered your phone number at http://my.dash.net, your directions will get sent to your Dash instead. Where ever you are, you can get locations sent to your Dash.

    TellMe - Dash Express owners can dial 1-800-CALL-411 (1-800-225-5411) or 1-800-555-TELL (1-800-555-8355) and search for businesses by name or category, anywhere in the United States, using only their voices. Once they've selected a business, the name and street address are sent wirelessly to the Dash Express device - often arriving within a few seconds - and the Dash Express will then guide drivers to their destinations by showing and speaking step-by-step directions.

    Pretty cool stuff....

    Press Releases after the jump...

    More at Dash Blog

    ArrowContinue reading: "Dash Express - Voice Command - TellMe and Dial Directions Partnerships"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    June 30, 2008

    Dash June Update - Big Improvements

    Dash Navigation is releasing a big upgrade today, adding features, fixing issues and plugging a few holes that they knew needed plugging but couldn't get around to it before the launch. Only a few months after the launch, and thousands of units on the streets, the connected GPS generation is starting to demonstrate what is possible, when you are connected to a wide pipe worth of data. This June 08 update will need to come down over a WiFi connection.

    "Unlike existing GPS devices, the Internet-connected Dash Express, is the first system designed to keep learning and getting smarter over time," said Paul Lego, CEO of Dash Navigation. "Today's software update is just the beginning. We're interacting with our customers on a daily basis, gathering their input and incorporating it into the product. With our newest features, we're able to help our customers quickly get the answers they need during their daily commutes."

    I will be downloading this today and checking it out; stay tuned for more on the June 08 update.

    The Dash Express recently dropped its price to $299 and is available at Amazon

    Here are a few of the updates:

    My Route - Basically, you are smarter than the GPS sometimes, and the Dash will learn your favorite route from A to B, and it can be permanently stored in "My Routes". When you want to navigate this pair again, your My Route comes up as an option and is at the top of the alternatives that are presented. I've been waiting a long time for something like this to hit a GPS, and am looking forward to trying this out.

    Developer Applications
    - So there will be up to 30 applications hitting the wires with this release, including EveryBlock, which is a news feed for your city, tapping into outlets for all kinds of news and delivering it to your Dash. Available for NY, San Francisco, and Chicago for now.
    Search Along Route
    - Something they needed in the original release, but added the exact feature that you need to judge how far off the route the Point of Interest is. In the screenshot to the right (click to enlarge), you can see that there is a column of data that shows the number of miles off your current route; very cool and useful in deciding if you want to make the detour for gas at that station a mile off your route, or the other one the next exit up that is 0.2 miles off your route.

    Performance Enhancements - faster map draws (by 50%), quicker toggling between 2D and 3D, better panning of the map, etc.

    More after the jump from the Dash press release........

    ArrowContinue reading: "Dash June Update - Big Improvements"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    June 21, 2008

    Dash Express Now $299


    Just got confirmation yesterday that the Dash Express is going to $299 as an everyday price. The Dads and Grads promo must have driven demand and the volumes are up when the prices are down. The Dash is the first next generation device that connects the GPS to the internet and to other Dash drivers so that you have the most up to date traffic information possible.

    From my use commuting into Boston, the Dash has an amazing read on traffic congestion and offers alerts when traffic is shifting or changing. The unit has a cellular radio in it to get up to date traffic feeds, while sending back anonymous updates on what traffic you are encountering. Combine these feeds with the other Dash users and you form a network of buddies patrolling the trafficked roads for you. Pretty cool.

    The Dash Express is available at Amazon.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    June 2, 2008

    Dash Express - Snags Awards


    Dash has snagged a couple of nice awards for the launch of its Fully Connected GPS device. The first is an award for the best navigation system from the Telematics conference. Not a bad award to have. Also they were the only GPS to be put on the PC World list of The 100 best Products of 2008. (Huh, didn't know it was over, but hey it's a pretty cool list - check it out at PC World). Via Dash Blogs

    The Dash Express is available for a new low price of $299 At Amazon. (Thanks Jim for sending this in.)

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    May 16, 2008

    Dash Updates and Opens Platform - New Apps on Dash Express

    Cool stuff ahead with the Dash - they have opened up their platform to other developers as they roll out applications that illustrate the capabilities. The Dash is a pretty amazing GPS with 2-way connectivity that allows for a platform to push information to the unit while you are on the road. Given the flexibility, they are starting to push a lot of things: real estate information, weather, red light cameras, and even geo-encode their Outlook calendars to route right to the address of their next appointments.

    Via Dash

    ArrowContinue reading: "Dash Updates and Opens Platform - New Apps on Dash Express"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    March 28, 2008

    Dash Express GPS - #6 Seller at Amazon


    Thought I would pass this along; Dash must be moving some units because the Dash Express is the #6 GPS at Amazon. Granted there is an exclusive deal with Amazon for the first 30 days, so this is the only retailer you can buy the unit at (Other than the Dash website), but hey it's notable nonetheless.

    Dash is the first internet connected GPS offers Yahoo! local search, up to the minute traffic, historical average speeds and a networked traffic capability where you learn about traffic from other Dash users.

    Take a look at my First Impressions GPS Review on the Dash Express for more information.

    At Amazon - The Dash Express

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    March 27, 2008

    Dash Express GPS - First Impressions Review


    I have only had the Dash Express a few days, but what I can say is that there is a new revolution out there in GPS devices, and I think it's been quietly brewing since they announced the idea to the public so long ago. There are a lot of features and capabilities that are here that make one think there is something a lot bigger than just directions here; there is real well thought out design work to make your life better by using the Dash.

    Is the Dash perfect? No, and I think the people at Dash would say the same thing, but they already have plans to improve. With the connectedness, the Dash units are capable of frequent firmware upgrades that allow Dash to tweak and improve as they go. To be clear, they are starting in a very good place. I am of the impression that they took the time to get to market and used it wisely.

    The big thing with the Dash is that it is the first connected generation of GPS units to market. Expect the others to come rushing in, but this is it right here, the next generation of GPS units. The unit has both a WiFi antenna and a mobile phone radio in it to connect back to Dash servers and connect to some limited internet capabilities. This allows you to search on Yahoo! Local search, and get all kinds of traffic data back from Dash. You are also acting as a traffic probe and sending your own traffic and road speed data back to them anonymously so that you can help out other fellow Dash users (and yourself) by mapping traffic patterns. I've already done my share of traffic mapping over the last few days; hope you other Dash users in Boston can appreciate my tracks.

    ArrowContinue reading: "Dash Express GPS - First Impressions Review"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

    Unboxing - Dash Express Connected GPS

    Part of the coverage of the new Dash Express GPS that ships today is to show you what comes with the Dash Express and a little peek inside the box. I was told the other day by Dash that they are doing their best to get Dash Express units out to people who pre-ordered their units for delivery this morning. Yes, that's right, you stuck with them, were nice when they delayed shipments on the units for a month, and now Dash is giving a little back so that they are getting units on your doorstep Thursday, the day that the rest of us though the unit would simply ship, not deliver!

    DashExpressOpenBox.jpgHere's a look at the Dash Express inside the box.

    DashExpressInsidebox.jpgPull out the Dash Express to reveal all the goodies in the bottom of the box.


    Here's a side view of the pretty sturdy mount.


    What's in the Dash Express Box: 1) The Dash Express Unit, 2) The Suction Cup Mount, 3) A Mount Extender for getting it away from the windshield and closer to you, 4) An AC wall charger, 5) A Mini-USB cable, 6) A Car Charger that plugs into the mount, 7) A Dashboard adhesive disk, 8) A Dash Express travel pouch, 9) A Getting Started guide and 10) a Dash Express Installation guide.

    At Amazon the Dash Express

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    Dash Express on Sale At Amazon - New Lower Price $399


    It's been a long time coming, but the Dash Express is finally shipping, and they made sure that they will make some headlines with an exclusive partnership for the first month's sales through Amazon.com, as well as a BIG price drop from the early numbers of $600 - $800, and down from previously advertised level of $599; now available for $399.

    I was told the other day by Dash that even those of you who pre-ordered will get the new lower price.

    The Dash Express is available for purchase immediately at the Dash Store at Amazon

    Stop back later today for my: Dash Express First Impressions Review.

    The press release follows.....

    ArrowContinue reading: "Dash Express on Sale At Amazon - New Lower Price $399"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    March 14, 2008

    Dash Express - Less Than 2 Weeks 'til Ship Date


    How long until you get your hands on your pre-ordered Dash Express connected GPS? I had the chance back in December to ride along with some folks from Dash and see the Dash Express in action, and have been looking forward to a real review unit showing up for me to play with for an extended amount of time.

    The original ship date was going to be February, but after CEO Paul Lego's delay announcement last month, the new ship data of March 27th is fast approaching. So, I am sure the big question floating around in people's minds is if they will hit that date.

    I don't know if they are or aren't but I am hearing that things are looking pretty good that in 2 week's time, you'll start to have shipments hitting the roads. This should be an exciting time for GPS navigation, as the launch of the Dash Express represents the next generation big leap in GPS capabilities - connected search, networked units and historical average speeds to help get better traffic reporting to you the user. In the meantime, you'll just have to sit back and wait (while sitting in traffic).

    More at Dash

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    February 21, 2008

    Dash Delays Shipments until Late March


    Readers from all over are sending in their emails that they got from Dash Navigation today announcing that their units will not ship until Late March. Citing their concern for shipping a product that was technically ready, they want to make a few more changes. I used to work for a consumer products company and it was never a good thing to slip a ship date once you made it public, so if you had to, it must have been a pretty big reason.

    Want more information? See my post after a Hands On Usage of the Dash Express

    See the text to the letter after the jump.....

    ArrowContinue reading: "Dash Delays Shipments until Late March"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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