The vendor of the 2-ways connected personal navigation device, Dash Express, had difficulties to enter the brick and mortar retail stores after delaying its launch by 18 months. When initially announced in September 2006 the product was supposed to “be available from www.dash.net and select retailers in California in early 2007, and will be available nationally next summer”; it finally was available from Amazon in April 2008 and never made it to a retail stores U.S. wide. As a result of these delays the price was reduced from a planned $599 to $399 at launch, then to $299 a few months ago.
There are many factors that explain why Dash failed to establish itself has a brand on the market. But the biggest reason is probably the failure of its executive team to understand the PND market dynamics.
Too late to go B2B?
Now Dash wants to pursue its activities in licensing its software platforms to car manufacturers, Smartphones, Internet devices, etc. This is a good idea but it should have been implemented much sooner. Already 14 months ago, Dash management was pretty much understanding that its future was not in the hardware business. At that time GPS Business News spoke with Robert Acker, vice president of marketing who said: “Moving forward we will likely continue to do a standalone product by ourselves, but I think our bigger vision is around partnering with other companies and developing the infrastructure”. now dash will have to implement its bigger vision with 30 people instead of 85. In the meantime the company burned a good chunk of the $71 million it raised and missed some good opportunities: for example, BestBuy, which never put the Dash Express on its shelves, commissioned deCarta as a white label provider for its home-branded (Insignia brand) connected navigation device.
Moving forward Dash will have to be both cautious and fast. The automotive and mobile navigation software industries have not waited for Dash to innovate in connected services, including crowdsourcing traffic information. TomTom Live services will be soon in-dash (starting with Renault) and on phones and many other players are busy working on these opportunities.