If you want to know what the next big move in navigation will look like, it's the Dash Express, shown here for the first time in its final design. The wireless net-connected GPS is just about through with its successful national road beta test and it's on track for early 2008 launch. Here are the stats, plus a gallery of homespun product and screen shots:
The difference between the Dash and all of the other dedicated portable navigators on the market is that it's got Wi-Fi and a GPRS modem built in, so that it can receive (and send) useful live information. If you're a user, Dash will know your commute and check traffic conditions, sending you an SMS when it thinks you need to hit the road so you're not late for work. Besides better traffic data, Dash is about local search: it gets POIs not from some static list but from Yahoo, so there's a greater chance of finding something up-to-date and appropriate to your needs.
The new, final design will feature: • Larger screen -4.3"TFT LCD screen, 480x272 • Haptic buttons for audio, main menu • Powered mount • Internal battery with 2 to 4 hours of life • Improved audio quality • Improved TTS • USB port
The interface has also been dramatically improved, with heavier reliance on the touch screen and brighter colors. Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but Dash will start selling online in the first quarter of 2008, with a big retail push in the second quarter. We can't wait to get our hands on one, because the GPS navigators we use now are great, but have reached a glass ceiling that only two-way communication will break through.