Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment
The last Switched On discussed the traffic-fighting prowess of the Dash Express, now available for only $299. Its leading ad hoc local information querying and traffic-finding capabilities represent the best potential to transform the portable navigation device from a product used primarily for unfamiliar terrain, to an everyday tool to expedite getting to point B.
When it debuted online at Amazon, it shared prime real estate with another transparently-connected consumer electronics device: the Amazon Kindle. But besides their completely divergent uses, the Dash carries more than the weight of a couple of extra radios in its cranium. The unfortunate part of the Dash Express is that the device's unusual size takes up a good chunk of windshield real estate and, of course, serves as an even larger advertisement to thieves.
Dash has the ability to remotely kill stolen Dash Expresses, but there is still the risk of a break-in. In many ways, Dash's service is a better match for an in-dash navigation unit such as the Pioneer AVIC series, but these expensive devices represent a small fraction of the navigation aftermarket.