Beta Test a Dash Express: The internet-connected GPS

The Dash Express is an internet-connected GPS that has been getting a lot of attention lately (especially at CES where it won several awards). It comes from the Mountain View-based company Dash Navigation.

The features of the Dash Express appear to be awesome (I have not seen it in person yet). The device will use information from other devices to suggest routes that avoid traffic (this is illustrated in the image above where various routes are available). It is also integrated with Yahoo! Local Search so you can look up anything in their local index. One of the things that I am most looking forward to is the ability to send things to the device. This will be possible via its web services (so things like a bookmarklet and email should work). The Dash Express will also provide access to geo-dependant services like gas prices and movie times — other data services will be available in time.

I’ve never owned a GPS for my car. For a while I felt like my mobile phone would be able to handle directions and traffic alerts for me, but over time I’ve realized how lacking a generalized interface can be and just how useful single-use devices can be. So just as I use my iPod for music and podcasts, I am looking forward to having an internet connected GPS to guide me. It has what previous GPSs have lacked: a direct connection to the internet and the ability to send it information from a computer on an ad hoc basis.

So far only 200 drivers have been using the Dash Express (and they’ve all been under NDAs). This summer 2000 drivers will be able to test the Dash Express (for free). As of today, you can go to their site and sign-up now. They are looking for “heavy commuters and mobile gadget enthusiasts”. They will screen applicants and select based on their needs.

Eric Klein of Dash will be speaking at our Where 2.0 Conference this May. As a special offer, Eric is going to bring 50 Dash Expresses with him to give out to Where 2.0 attendees. To be eligible fill out the form, heck the box that confirms you are going to Where 2.0 this year and then attend. The exact manner in which they will be given out is still TBD.

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