Dash Express: RIP

Although I suspect BR is at least as much of a gadget lover as I am, if not more, I’ll just preface the post by saying it’s Invictus.  (My history here has demonstrated that most readers don’t check the byline.)  That said:

I’ve been an early adopter my whole life.  Can’t help myself; it’s in my blood.  Probably my biggest miscalculation was a Sony Digital Audio Tape deck — and a Walkman to accompany it.  I’ve often wondered if I was the only person in the States who bought that technology.

Anyway, fast-forward (pun intended) to late 2007/early 2008 and the introduction of the Dash Express GPS, which I could not wait to get my hands on.  (Here is my first GPS device, circa mid-90s, and I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.)

The beauty of the Dash was its always-on two-way internet connectivity and the features that sprung from it:

  • Local Yahoo! search
  • Real-time, crowd-sourced traffic updates via other Dash users on the network, often suggesting re-routes well before hitting heavy traffic
  • Send2Car — to which I became addicted, allowed me to simply send an address to the unit over any internet connected device, which it would receive and provide a route to

Although it was not without its bugs, customer service was great.  Dash had some active forums, and its open source technology allowed users to develop all sorts of useful and interesting applications for it.  It developed a loyal (but apparently small) cult-like following.  I make no bones about loving my Dash — always have, always will.  It was a device ahead of its time.

Premiering in the early months of the recession and not doing a very good job marketing their product, Amazon (initially the sole vendor) slashed the price 25% in no time flat.  Things were not looking good.  But everyone soldiered on.

In little more than one year (June 2009), with the company apparently faltering, they were snatched up by RIMM, presumably for their software, and probably for a song.

And now, finally, comes this:

We will be discontinuing service and support of the Dash Express product effective June 30, 2010, no new month to month subscriptions will be sold after today (May 24, 2010). Your loyalty to our product for the last few years is truly valued and appreciated.

We will issue prorated refunds to customers with an outstanding balance on their remaining pre-paid subscription. Our month-to-month subscribers will simply see their service expire automatically on June 30, 2010.

In order for us to process your refund, we will need you to verify/enter your mailing address here

We thank you for your support of the Dash Express product.

I’d hoped and prayed for Dash to make it.  Although I’ll readily admit it was a bulkier device than I would have liked, I found its feature set superior to any of its competitors.

But such is life in the dog-eat-dog world of high tech.  As I’ll be in the market for a replacement device, feel free to drop some comments on what’s caught your fancy in the PND space.

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