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How Dash Express Works

Dash Express Reviews
Did the initial release of the Dash Express live up to people's expectations?
Did the initial release of the Dash Express live up to people's expectations?

The Dash Express was one of the most highly anticipated electronic devices of 2008, and one of the most hyped GPS receivers in recent memory. During the Consumer Electronics Show in 2007, where Dash Navigation highlighted the device, it received lots of buzz, and bloggers quickly named it one of the best products of 2008. But how did the Dash Express measure up once the critics got their hands on it?

Nearly every review points out that the Dash Express's major innovation, two-way Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi and cellular networks, is a major plus. The ability to search live for hotels, movies, restaurants and gas stations with the lowest prices while receiving real-time traffic updates from other users gives the Dash Express an advantage over other GPS navigators. Most acknowledge that information will only get better if there are more drivers on the road using the Dash Express.

Despite the excitement, many reviewers pointed out several problems with the Dash Express's performance and design. CNET, Gizmodo, Engadget and several other reviewers noted tracking problems of some kind -- either the Express took too long to update a current map or offered confusing or incorrect routes.

The large size of the Dash Express was universally noted and seen as somewhat of a negative. The device weighs 13.3 ounces (377 grams) and measures 4.8 inches (12.2 centimeters) wide by 4.1 inches (10.4 centimeters) tall by 2.8 inches (7.1 centimeters) deep, much bigger than many of its contemporary GPS units, and many reviewers compared the Dash Express's size to bulkier models made in the 1990s. Dash Navigation has explained, however, that the size of the Express simply had to be large in order to accommodate the wireless radios into the system.

Finally, many reviewers wondered if the initial price of the Dash Express ($400) was too high for a GPS in such an early stage. And although customers get the first three months free, there is a monthly service fee that ranges from $10 to $13 per month.

Although Dash Navigation is stopping production on the Dash Express, that doesn't mean the company is done in the GPS industry. Instead of making the actual hardware, they'll focus on what got everyone excited about the Dash Express in the first place -- developing software for smartphones and GPS devices. Judging by the reaction against the Dash Express's hardware design and the fact that we might find strong Internet connectivity in 62 percent of all navigation devices by 2012, the move may play toward the company's best strengths [source: Electronista].