Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:
No one would ever accuse the Dash team of low self-esteem. "What the TV did for entertainment and the cell phone did for communication, Dash will do for driving." the company's Web site crows, A more accurate analogy for Dash, though, would be what TiVo did for television, that is, give consumers a greater degree of control over the media or information they're trying to manage in a contextually relevant way.
Dash plans to achieve its five-star impact rating via a portable GPS device. The portable GPS market shifted into high gear a few years ago when Magellan offered a hard disk inside of its Roadmate 700 units. Consumers no longer had to deal with cumbersome PC downloads; street-level maps of the whole country could be pre-loaded. A year later, a gigabyte or two of flash memory is enough to include street-level maps for the United States. Magellan representatives recently noted that it plans to switch completely from hard drives to flash in the next generation. The TomTom Go 910 can even hold maps of the U.S. and Europe for those leisurely drives across the Atlantic Ocean.