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Dash Exits PND Hardware

11/03/2008 03:52:00 PM Eastern

Sunnyvale, Calif. — Dash Navigation, which launched the first two-way, Internet-connected portable GPS device, is exiting the GPS hardware market and will license its technology to automotive, smartphone and other companies instead, it said.

The company also today let go of 50 employees, or 65 percent of the company work force, according to Rob Currie, who replaces Paul Lego as CEO. Currie was previously president and COO.

Dash sold a Dash Express high-tech traffic-gathering and traffic-reporting device through Amazon.com and Crutchfield.com as well as its own Dash Web site, but never sold through traditional retailers, since it launched in March.

Currie said the company was at a juncture where it had to decide to ramp up for a full-scale retail introduction or to go the path of licensing its technology.

“This wasn’t the result of sales. We’ve been pretty pleased with sales given that we’ve only been selling since March,” said Currie, although the product is currently ranked as No. 67 on Amazon’s best-selling GPS list.

Currie said, “In the last couple of months we started to get really strong interest from licensing partnerships and there’s a growing set of platforms we could turn on. With the state of the economy … to launch a product in retail would be an expensive proposition and it was time to make a shift and focus on what differentiates us — the Dash driver network, the service and the user experience.”

Dash continues to claim that its users are very happy with the product. The company said it will continue to “run the service” and support the products in the field with software updates.

The Dash Express personal navigation device tracked its users’ road speeds, then transmitted the information to other Dash users to create traffic reports. It was also the first to offer a live Yahoo! Local search for points of interest.

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