Dash Express – Innovative In-Car GPS

I love in-car GPS, and rely on it so much that when I recently drove in someone else’s car that didn’t have GPS I got that same strange feeling you get when you leave home without your mobile phone — oh the horror !

Back in October 2007 I wrote about what I hoped to see happening with in-car GPS and also posted my review of the Garmin Nuvi 350 and what was missing, including:

– No easy way to transfer address info from my desktop machine to the device.
– Needs to be two way. The other day I had it find the nearest gas station and it found a 7-11 store that had no gas station
– More two-way options. Would be nice to have the ability to sync all the data back to the web, so I could review past trips, and mark places of interest for future trips.
– More sharing. Would be cool to see (anonymously) what were the most effective routes to take at certain hours based on what other people did, the most scenic, the one with the least amount of traffic, etc. Lots can be done in this area.

So I’m excited to see that a majority of my wish-list items and the big traffic p2p feature are all present in the new Dash Express that Kara Swisher just reviewed:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Walt Mossberg also has an in-depth review and concludes:

Dash Express finally brings the power of the Internet, and of community information, to auto navigation. If it becomes popular, it could be a big deal.

The Dash Express traffic feature is using a wisdom of the crowd type approach:

Dash approaches traffic in an entirely different way – by collecting information from other people driving real commute routes, during real commute times. Each Dash Express anonymously and automatically sends its position and speed back to Dash’s servers. The servers then update all of the other Dash devices in the area with current road speeds, providing the most up-to-date traffic information available. The larger the Dash Network grows, the better traffic information becomes.

I think this will be a big seller and we could see lots of interesting mashups happening. Think playlists for GPS. So you could export the top rated coffee shops in SF from Yelp, and have that be a shareable list that anyone could download to their Dash. In Kara’s video above she plugs in a list that has all the hot spots from Entourage in LA — very cool.

Dash Express is being sold exclusively on Amazon for $400.

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