End of the Road for Dash Express

Dave Zatz —  May 24, 2010 — 21 Comments

It should come as no surprise Dash Express network service would ultimately be terminated. In fact, I’m impressed that it’s been active this long given hardware discontinuation (11/08) and the RIM acquisition (6/09) in years past. However, we’ve nearly reached the end of the road — June 30th will be the last day Dash GPS owners will be able to access online services including traffic, Yahoo Local Search, and Send2Car.

As a refresher, Dash was notable as the first Internet-connected PND (via GSM service). It may have been large and had kinks to be worked out, but the Express provided all sorts of new, innovative mobile functionality. And I admired their audacity in taking on the establishment. Yet the world has dramatically changed since Dash was first conceived. And many of us now navigate via our (connected) smartphones. Which is probably why RIM, the Blackberry people, picked up Dash (for a song).

The Dash story is also partially my own – having been employed about 6 months when the powers that be pulled the plug on hardware and a large percent of the staff. Obviously it wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for or anticipated. And not a decision I agreed with. Sadly, due to the nature of things, it’s not appropriate to elaborate any further. Unless we’re chatting in person over a beer. ;)

Email to customers:

Dear XXXXXX,

We will be discontinuing service and support of the Dash Express product effective June 30, 2010, no new month to month subscriptions will be sold after today (May 24, 2010). Your loyalty to our product for the last few years is truly valued and appreciated.

We will issue prorated refunds to customers with an outstanding balance on their remaining pre-paid subscription. Our month-to-month subscribers will simply see their service expire automatically on June 30, 2010.

In order for us to process your refund, we will need you to verify/enter your mailing address here

We thank you for your support of the Dash Express product.

Sincerely,

Team Dash

Followup in the private Dash forums:

Today we announced to all of our active subscribers that we we will discontinue our service effective June 30th, 2010.

As many of you know, we stopped selling and manufacturing the Dash Express product in November of 2008. We maintained our existing traffic and connected features since that time to honor our existing customer base.

What this means to you on July 1st, 2010:
Your device will continue to operate as a stand-alone GPS device (you can navigate to an address)
You will no longer have any connected features (Tru Traffic, Yahoo! Local search, Send 2 Car, Dash Apps, etc)

Again, we thank you for support of the Dash Express product.

Team Dash

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

21 responses to End of the Road for Dash Express

  1. Kudos to management for keeping things going this long and providing refunds where applicable. Nicely done.

    Also, even though the situation didn’t work out so well for many of us, I collaborated closely with some great folks – most notably Gina, Mark, Brandon, and Chris. Not to mention many stimulating conversations with Rob Curry (formerly of Strangeberry) and the lively, growing online community.

    As for Zatz household GPS usage these days, we’re done with PNDs. I use Telenav on my iPhone, Melissa uses TomTom on hers. Telenav is better in most respects, but the TomTom purchase is a sunk cost (versus a Telenav subscription). I also periodically check in with the free Inrix traffic app. If/when I migrate to Android, of course Google will provide me nav for free. The voice kinda sucks, but I can get past that.

  2. They should release to the public all API and documentation so that open source can pick up.

  3. I really thought the Dash Express was a great idea when it surfaced years back. I -almost- bought one but thought: let’s see if this can be proven – it only really works if a lot of folks are on-board.

    Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

    I’ve since wished other companies would pick up on the technology (like the Garmin 1690 seems to have everything you need to do this – but they don’t) – no luck, though.

  4. R.I.P. – People kept asking me why I loved a fat GPS unit so much but I kept sticking up for the little guy.. “dude it’s two-way and has Internet!” I told them.

  5. If it wasn’t for my purchase of the Dash and subsequent correspondence with the “Dash employed” Dave Zatz, I would never have known about Zatz Not Funny. So I thank Dash for that. By the way, I still use it as a stand alone in my cars that dont have built in Nav.

  6. Sad, but not surprising. Thanks to everyone on the back end of Dash for making a run at it.

    I futilely point out the existence of OpenMoko pages discussing how to get Android on the Neo FreeRunner.

  7. @Dave your right I would have never found Zatz if not for the Dash..

  8. Unfortunately, this company was dead over a year ago. I think they were dead when there was no new more reasonable device coming out, and then RIMM just totally dropped the ball on trying to up-option and integrate into their products. They HAD an edge in the coming PND/GPS/LBS/LBA/SEARCH coming tsunami, but totally dropped the ball. There is no option to accelerate it now, the window for them has passed totally.

    disclaimer: I’m short RIMM since April with June-Aug puts.

  9. I also would not have found “Zatz not funny” without the dash. Definitely, had a lot of bittersweet moments with the Dash. Sad to finally see it end. I to am done with PND’s and now usually use Waze on my iPhone, and my wife, who was bequiffed my DX, now uses the Google GPS on her Droid. I’m not really sure where my Dash is at this point.

  10. Hi Dave…I didn’t get the e-mail that you posted above which mentioned refunds but needs you to respond to verify address. Any chance you could send that to me or post it? I’ve paid for the service through October and will miss it.

    Thanks!

  11. Todd, it may be a custom URL per user. And today what it should resolve to doesn’t seem to be working. I’d give you that address if it were. So I suggest calling into Dash for assistance.

  12. I still use a little standalone TomTom unit I picked up on a cheap a year or so ago. I bought a car since then but opted out of bult-in nav ($2-3K extra upfront only results in $500-600 increase in selling price later on, decreasing every year). But when/if I pick up EVO, that’s probably going to be my go-to device.

    Anyhow, back to Dash — do we know why the heck RIM bought them if nothing Dash-related has materialized yet? RIM, even though it sucks at smartphones now, still has a lot of users, so potential install base to figure out traffic delays, etc. is large.

  13. Hey Dave-

    Thanks for the shout out. It was a great team. Shame to see it fully shut down. I will miss the Yahoo search on my Dash.

  14. Andrew Cseplo May 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Google Maps now has a live traffic option. Someone was showing it to me on their Blackberry and the traffic info looked remarkably similar to what my Dash Express was showing me at the same time.
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_maps_gets_smarter_crowdsources_traffic_data.php
    Also, for a GPS with internet, there’s the Telenav Shotgun. I tried it about six months ago but didn’t care for their traffic.

  15. I picked up a Dash when they came out of beta, and stuck with them until last November when I got a Droid.

    When it worked like it should it was amazing… popping up a traffic alert for an accident and suggesting a viable alternate route. I haven’t found anything that works as well on the Droid yet.

    It had more than its share of quirks, and was a behemoth, but it was a great concept. I’d have loved to see version 2.

    Thanks for the update, Dave.

  16. Great attempt by those guys. I had a (small) glimpse into what they were working on before the hardware got discontinued, and it looked promising as well. I don’t think the cries for open source are worth the effort – RIM bought them for a reason, and wanted the technology.

    That’s a TOUGH business to get into folks… lots of capital required, and GPS margins have become RAZOR THIN. Kudos for the executive team even getting a product out the door and venture capital lined up.

  17. Anyone know how the current Sony DASH advertised in the SkyMall pages (skymall.com too) etal. is related (if at all) to Dash Express??

    Can the Dash Express be hacked so as to be usable as a PIV (Personal Internet Viewer)?

  18. a friend of mine wants to know if i have an extra gps i can give him. i told him i have a dash i can give away. the dash is not booting because it will not hold a charge. does anyone out there know how to replace the batteries in the dash express? and what security bit you need to open one up?

  19. The day the R.I.M. pulled the plug on not just “Dash Express” but the “Dash Express Customers,” I developed a total disrespect for the company. Then I went straight to my cellular store and turned in my Blackberry for an HTC. Leaving the many people who purchased the device just to be left stranded was very piss poor.

  20. “does anyone out there know how to replace the batteries in the dash express”

    If you pop out the four silicone plugs in back, there are four torx screws. Remove the screw, and the back comes off. There will be a black battery in heatshrink with a 3-conductor cable. Take this battery out, and figure out what it is. Looks to be a lithium ion. Mine is ok, so I haven’t opened the heatshrink to id the cells.

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>