Dash Express Runs on OpenMoko FOSS Platform, Nerds' Heads Explode

Illustration for article titled Dash Express Runs on OpenMoko FOSS Platform, Nerds' Heads Explode

Today we learned that the seductively interactive Dash Express GPS navigator is using the OpenMoko open-source mobility platform that led to the Neo 1973 smartphone. This makes the Dash the first product based on OpenMoko's GTA0X reference design, with GPS hardware designed to order by OpenMoko and its parent company, FIC. Did we need one more reason to love this thing? Well, we got it. (There's a press release down below.)


Jan 02, 2008 09:15

OpenMoko Extends Mobile Phone to Power Next-Generation Dash GPS

New Dash Express(TM) GPS: Personal Navigation Device Leverages OpenMoko's Open Device Platform
TAIPEI, Taiwan —(Business Wire)— Jan. 2, 2008 OpenMoko and parent company FIC today announced a partnership with Dash Navigation, Inc. revealing that the Dash Express, the first Internet-connected GPS device for the consumer market, runs on the Neo mobile hardware and software platform. The partnership with Dash to build the Express device marks OpenMoko's first foray into the GPS market, and represents commercial validation of the company's mobile platform vision. The Dash Express is now available for pre-order directly from Dash Navigation.

On the heels of the successful launch of the Neo 1973, the world's first totally open FOSS mobile platform, the innovative Dash Express breaks ground as the first consumer electronics device based on the OpenMoko GTA0X reference design. Dash Express features applications developed by Dash Navigation and uses the OpenMoko kernel and bootloader. The GPS hardware was jointly designed to Dash's specifications by OpenMoko and FIC Mobility, who will manufacture the device.

"We always saw the Neo 1973 as more than a mobile phone; it's the harbinger of the coming generation of open mobile devices aimed at the Web2.0 social networking market," said Sean Moss-Pultz, CEO of OpenMoko. "We knew if we could free the phone, others would springboard from that and build revolutionary products. Dash seized the opportunity, improved the Neo hardware and OpenMoko Linux platform, and built a revolutionary product that will disrupt the mobile GPS market."

Dash marks a new kind of ODM relationship that enables companies to more easily create consumer products based on open hardware specifications and GPL licensing. OpenMoko officials predict this will enable more derivations of the Neo platform to enter the commercial market.

"Dash's support of open standards allows consumers to get the content they want into their cars," said Rob Currie, president and COO, Dash Navigation. "OpenMoko and FIC are technology leaders that have been great partners for us, and they continue to be important contributors to the development of diverse and accessible consumer mobile applications."

The Dash Express is now available for pre-order at the company's website (http://www.dash.net). The device is priced at $599.99 and includes three free months of Dash Service(1). The Dash Express will begin shipping in mid-to-late February directly from http://www.dash.net followed by broader retail distribution in Q2 2008.

OpenMoko and Dash will be featured at the press-only innovator showcase during CES, Lunch @ Piero's. The next generation of the Neo hardware platform will be announced shortly.

About Dash

Dash Navigation connects people to the information that empowers them in their cars. The company's first product, the Dash Express(TM), is the first personal navigation system with two-way, Internet connectivity. It's the smartest way to get from A to B — and get information about everything in between. Dash is located in Sunnyvale, Calif. and is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, Skymoon Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, Artis Capital and ZenShin Capital Partners. For more information visit Dash Navigation at http://www.dash.net.

About FIC

Founded in 1980, First International Computer, Inc (FIC) is a world leader in the design and production of computer motherboards, graphics cards, PC systems, notebooks, mobile solutions, and other electronic devices. Publicly listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE 3701), FIC has a workforce of over 5000 employees spread amongst six supplier hubs, ten manufacturing/assembly sites and seven branch offices.

As an OEM/ODM supplier to many of the leading brands in North America, Asia, and Europe, FIC has established itself as a pioneer of innovative products, supplying engineering expertise, advanced R&D, and logistical services throughout the world.

For the latest information on FIC products and services visit http://www.fic.com.tw.

About OpenMoko

OpenMoko is the commercial and community driven effort with a mission to create an open platform that empowers developers and consumers to customize their mobile devices, much like a computer, in any way they see fit. OpenMoko is dedicated to helping innovators bring the freedom and flexibility of Web2.0 to consumer electronics and vertical market devices.

For the latest information on OpenMoko visit http://www.openmoko.com.

(1)Note: Dash Product and Dash Service subscription sold separately. Other fees and taxes, including a one-time activation fee to reactivate a deactivated Dash Product, may apply. The Dash Service and fees are subject to change, at any time as set forth in the Dash Service Agreement available at http://www.dash.net. Dash purchasers will receive one month free Dash Service at initial turn-on and two additional free months Dash Service after registering at http://www.mydash.net.



It also connects to wi-fi. Connect at home or various hotspots (and unsecured wi-fi networks).

Fortunately, I live in Florida where the GPRS coverage is nearly seamless, so coverage is not an issue for me.

Although disclosing involvement in the National Road Test violates the confidentiality agreement each of us "signed" when we became testers, I think it may be safe to reveal since the test period officially ends on 1/15/08. Having tested the prototype since April 2007, I really liked it and its capabilities, so I jumped at the chance to continue "testing" the final version. I already have the new "pre-release" model and it works great. Better screen, better routing, a fantastic unit.