Dash Express June Update
With about one quarter of a year under its belt, the Dash Express has made quite a splash in the industry. As with any product new to the market, there are bound to be a few bugs, and room for enhancements. Today, Dash is releasing their first software application update to users. So what new goodies do you get and how do you get them?
Updated via WiFi
Dash is calling this the first GPS update available via WiFi. Sure enough, power up your Dash express in your garage and if it can find your WiFi network, the update will be downloaded in the background to your Express and will kindly ask if now is a good time to perform the installation.
There are actually two updates– There is an update to the underlying Linux Operating System as well as the Dash Software (version 2.1). After you have run the updates, you can go to Menu -> Settings -> System to double check that everything has installed properly. Look for the line that starts with “Software Version:”. You should now be running something like 126.96.36.1994 versus something like 188.8.131.527.
So now that you have updated, what’s new?
One of the most common questions– or perhaps complaints, GPS users have is that the GPS doesn’t know “their” favorite way to get from point A to B. And there is no way to “teach” the GPS. Instead you just wait for that stern “Recalculating!” voice. Dash hopes to solve this with the concept of “MyRoute”. Simply create a route to your destination, and then drive your preferred way to get to that destination, ignoring the GPS instructions. The next time you select that destination, starting at the same point, your custom route will be shown as one of the route options, labeled “My Route”.
Find POIs Along Route
This is a feature I use very often when driving with GPS. Often I just need to find a bank or an ATM and I don’t really care when I stop so long as it is along my route and I don’t need to detour far to get to it. So searching for POIs that are nearby your route is a very useful tool that has now been added to the Dash Express. Previously, Yahoo searches allowed you to look nearby, near your destination, or in another city. Now you can search “along route”. Dash does trump the competition a little bit here and adds not only the distance away from your current location, but also how far off your route that POI is as well as which side of your route (left or right) that POI is. This will be very handy!
Gas Price Update Date
Previously when searching for gas you were presented with a list of stations, the address, the price, the direction, and the distance. Now, one more element has been added to the list– the date the price was recorded. With gas prices changing rapidly, it is more important than ever to know what level of trust you can put into the data. You might find a great price… but see that it is more than a couple of days old and therefore you might not trust that same great deal is still there. Now you can clearly see just how recent that price was.
What SiRF calls “InstantFix“, TomTom calls “QuickFix”, etc. This is basically a geeky way of helping your GPS find the satellites more quickly, so it can in turn find your position more quickly. This works amazingly well for the TomTom devices, but it does have one flaw… Unless you happen to have a with a compatible data plan you need to connect your GPS to your computer periodically to download the updates. With the Dash these updates are downloaded automatically, periodically, in the background so you will never see it running– yet you will still get the benefits.
Dash has also increased the map refresh/draw rate by more than 50%, resulting in smoother map zooming and faster toggling between 2D and 3D modes. Road labels are more readable on the map, and the night mode appears on more of the menu system. Dash says that there were “hundreds” of improvements in this software update, and we hope to uncover more as we take further driving tests with the new software. If you find something else new, certainly let us know about them in the comments below. Of course, we’ll be looking hard for some routing algorithm updates. 😉
Also new today is an application not previously released built from the existing API System for developers:
EveryBlock collects and publishes neighborhood and block-level news in cities including Chicago, New York and San Francisco. With the EveryBlock DashApp, launched today, drivers in those cities can access a “neighborhood feed,” including public records (e.g., crimes, restaurant inspections, building permits), and user-contributed knowledge (e.g., local photos posted to Flickr) — all filtered geographically according to the vehicle’s current location.
And More to Come
“Unlike existing GPS devices, the Internet-connected Dash Express, is the first system designed to keep learning and getting smarter over time,” said Paul Lego, CEO of Dash Navigation. “Today’s software update is just the beginning. We’re interacting with our customers on a daily basis, gathering their input and incorporating it into the product. With our newest features, we’re ableneed during their daily commutes.”
Looks like a pretty full update and again, if you see something else new that hasn’t yet been mentioned here, drop a line in the comments below.