updated 03:25 pm EST, Mon November 3, 2008
Dash quits hardware builds
Dash Navigation announced on Monday that it will cease making it Dash Express GPS navigation devices for cars that include Web 2.0 services as part of a bigger company move to change its business model from a consumer-focused one to a business-to-business orientation. The company will instead sell licenses for use of its platform to other makers of automobile on-board navigation systems, smartphones and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), among other electronics. Earlier this summer, the company halved prices of its navigation units, which the company launched started selling near the beginning of the year for about $600.
At the same time, the company will cut 50 jobs, which represents about two-thirds of its workforce and the current COO, Rob Currie, will replace CEO and founder Paul Lego. Those who currently have Dash navigation devices will continue to receive support and software updates from the company, and the Dash Driver Network will remain in place and grow, as the company will focus on its development.
The decision, according to Dash, stems from difficult market conditions in addition to added competition from smartphone makers, who are increasingly introducing GPS-enabled handsets with the ability to browse the web. In addition, these same gadgets offers faster processing and browsing speeds as the Dash Express uses a 400MHz ARM CPU and GPRS connection for data network access.
The company will instead focus on selling its software, writing applications for these same smartphones, which could potentially include the Android-based T-Mobile G1 or Apple's iPhone 3G. As well, the company will look into working with car manufacturers to bring Internet and navigation capabilities to the next generation of in-car entertainment and navigation systems. Analysts predict real-time, two-way (RTTW) connected navigation will grow to become part of 62 percent of all navigation devices by 2012.