Demo 2006: Checking out Dash

Dash, the KP and Sequoia backed navigation company, is onstage here at Demo. The company is announcing its Dash Express, and more information is available here.

It’s a small nav unit that sits on the dashboard. It downloads information from the web via either WiFi or the cellular network, as well as synching up to GPS. One nice feature is that people can, with your permission, “IM” destinations — “Dash it” — to the receiver. And the buzzed feature: Each Dash device sends live traffic information back to Dash, which is nifty, albeit something that requires mass adoption to be of any use.

As always with in-car electronics, my main reaction is a mix of “gee-whiz” and “oh god”. The former comes from thinking about live traffic data, and IM links to nav units, etc. The latter comes from watching demonstrators blithely enter information in these dashboard units, seemingly pretending to be doing it while driving. As someone generally terrified of my fellow SoCal drivers, those people beside me on I-5 busy putting on makeup and shaving (and sometimes both), the thought of people messing with more in-car electronics is enough to solve the traffic problem directly: It’ll keep people off the road just as a pre-emptive act of self-preservation.