We've always been fans of the Dash Express, with its real-time web-delivered traffic monitoring and its constantly evolving app platform. Somewhat sad news today is that Dash Navigation will be pulling out of the consumer hardware business entirely and cutting 50 jobs (two-thirds of its work force)—enabling them to move toward licensing their innovative software platform to other GPS nav makers, as well as to mobile phones and MID platforms in the future. But in a lot of ways, the move makes perfect sense.
The nav market is a tough one, and with the added economic difficulties, Dash feels it can do better work by focussing on their open-source OS, which they will then sell business-to-business. More important than the OS, which is fine but not fantastic, is the back end traffic mesh system. A Dash-powered mid-range Garmin nav sounds like a pretty appealing prospect, and will help bring a Dash-like system to more people for less dough. New CEO Rob Currie also notes that the Dash's GPRS chip and 400MHz ARM processor are quickly being outpaced by even low-end mobiles, so a move toward adding Dash functionality to GPS-equipped smartphones sounds like a plan to me.
Dash is going to keep the Express back end running for existing owners, but no word on for how long; because these devices hold almost zero local data, once the service goes you will have yourself a nav that can't do much more than direct address routing. Dash friends, care to let us know how long we have? [GigaOM]