Exclusive Dash Express GPS Hands-On

We got our hands on the new Dash Express GPS Navigation system that was shown yesterday on Dash’s official blog. Look at our Dash Express photo gallery too see it from every angle. A few details can still change, but this is very representative of the final product.

Some context:
The Dash is a GPS Navigation device that is always connected, thanks to its GSM/GPRS and WiFi connection. Dash has partnered with Jasper wireless to move the data over GSM. Because it’s always connected, it can pull information in real-time (traffic, weather, gas prices…). Users can also send routes planned on their PC over-the-air (At last! Others are working on it too).

This GPS is a two-way communication device that also sends data. For example, Dash (the company) plans to analyze anonymous GPS coordinates from all devices in service to get better real-time traffic information and better historical statistics. As the customer base grows, the information will be more and more accurate.

Dash (the device) does not rely only on external data to provide a better estimated time of arrival: It can learn from your driving patterns and provide an educated best guess. Most GPS units don’t consider speeding – what a mistake !

The product should have launched earlier, but this time Dash seems confident that both the device and the service will be available in Q1 08 (e-tailers) and Q2 08 (retailers). The final pricing is not known yet, but the device should sell for about $500 and the subscription might be in the $10 to $15 range.

At this time, I have not been able to play with the new firmware, but I do know that, due to popular demand, the virtual ABC keyboard is gone, in favor of a QWERTY one.

Yes, the device is bulky, but at the moment I don’t think that there’s another device that offers the same service (add a comment if you know of one). Being able to pull/send data from the GPS is where the value is, unlike adding multimedia functions.

Dash will present an update at Web 2.0. Keep your eyes open.

Update Dec 16 2007: The Dash Express is now available for pre-order. Go to this more recent post to learn the details

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