The usual GPS that you find in your car today has pre loaded maps on it, possibly sitting on a memory card, a big screen, crystal clear voice that helps you during your navigation. When you jump in your car you will have to tell your device where you want to go, which preferences it has to take in account while determining the perfect path to reach your destination and then you are ready to go. From that point on the device simply execute the task it has been assigned. Only if you interact with it you have the option to change options or modify the route the device has calculated.
The main issue is that the device that is in your car is not connected to anything apart from the power supply and your eyes and ears.
GPS is becoming a commodity also on mobile phones. Unfortunately most of them do not have best of class navigation application, they typically have small screens, they do not have any touch interface, the volume of the loudspeaker is sometimes not enogh. When you jump in your car you simply perform the very same tasks you do with dedicated GPS navigation systems. To be honest a few exceptions exists, just like WayFinder.
The good thing is that your mobile phone is connected to the world via its data connection.
The idea to merge the best of these two worlds is a great idea.
GPS Dash is one of the first devices that approach this new concept.
From an hardware standpoint this device is pretty amazing:
- 480×272 WQVGA TFT Touchscreen LCD
- Sirf StarIII GPS Receiver
- GPRS data connection
I read somewhere that the platform is built using the OpenMoko platform and this is really interesting.
From the software side we start to see very nice stuff:
- The device implements what is called “TruTraffic”. Basically the idea is that while operating your device it will send anonymous data to a server to track real time information about the route and that data is used to signal other devices in your area about changes in traffic status. This will create a sort of collaborative network of devices that will increase the accuracy of the predicted time to reach your destination but, at the very same time, will make the device able to reroute you if there is heavy traffic ahead. This is definitely the best feature I have seen in this device.
- You have pre loaded maps on the device but they will automatically update over GPRS or WiFi when available.
- Since the device is connected to the internet you will find Yahoo! Search. This will be a great source of never out of data POI data for your navigation.
- Send2Car. This is another great feature. You can plan your trip from your PC and then send it directly to your device while it is sitting in our car. Fantastic. I can also see some business use of this device.
- Theft Deterrent. Great! Your device will be remotely disabled if stolen.
As you can see this is something that is going to change the approach to GPS navigation in the future.
Obviously there are some things that need to happen before the device will be really useful.
First of all you will need to have a big enough number of devices around you before you will get valuable data for your navigation. I think this is the reason why they guys at Dash Navigation Inc. are using traffic data coming from the internet.
You may also experience data communication interruption as you drive even if the presence of both GPRS and WiFi should mitigate this a little bit.
The device is going to cost 399,00 USD to which you should add from 9.99 USD to 12.99 USD for the service.
This is definitely something I woud be willing to pay for.