One of the most eagerly anticipated aftermarket car tech gadgets at this year's CES is the Dash Express from Dash Navigation. Dash Express is the first portable navigation system to have built-in two-way connectivity (cellular and Wi-Fi), giving drivers access to a whole new world of information via the Internet and the network of other Dash-connected users. The system display real-time traffic data, which comes from the network of other Dash drivers, while Web connectivity gives drivers a points-of-interest database served up by Yahoo Local, with whom Dash announced a partnership last week. Here are some of the major functions of the Dash Express:
Dash Network Traffic: The Dash Express takes a two-pronged approach to traffic information. First, the system comes preprogrammed with historical traffic flow data for all major roads, so it has an idea of what the road conditions are like in the area during all times. The real-time traffic data comes from the network of other Dash drivers out there who anonymously report their traffic conditions to other devices in the area. With this information, Dash Express can select the best of three recommended routes.
Destination Search: Sure, all in-car GPS navigation devices today have a points-of-interest (POI) database, but the advantage of the Dash Express system is that you have access to all the resources of the World Wide Web. You're not limited to just what's preloaded on the device, so you can input a generic or specific term such as "surfboards," and you'll get a list of shops in the area that sell surfboards. Plus, the Dash service will also be able return up-to-date information, such as movie times or the gas prices at all the gas stations.
Send to Car: With this feature, you can send an address from your computer's Web browser or Microsoft Outlook, eliminating the need to manually enter addresses on the device.
In addition to these functions, you get all the standard navigation features, such as turn-by-turn directions including text and voice guidance (no text-to-speech functionality in the first iteration), and as a bonus, all map and POI updates are done automatically and over the air, so you don't have to do a thing. Dash Express will be available in March, and we hear that it will be priced "competitively with other high-end navigation systems," which means that it will likely be in the $600 to $800 range.