Here's the first look, net wide, of the Upstart GPS-startup Dash, and their GPS system. What's special: Instead of pulling maps, and points of interests from a drive or flash memory, the Dash can pull down real time updates over WiFi or cellular data.
Let me spell it out for you: When you search for a gas station, it returns street directions, but also the pump prices. When you search for a movie theater, it returns movie times. Your maps never get out of date, and your points of interest database could be pulled from all the Google/Yahoo!/Yelp types of sites, giving you access to a practically unlimited number of...roadside Denny's.
And then there's traffic hive-mind thingy...(jump)
UPDATE: Whoops! Photo works now...thanks B.A. Kotaku.
Instead of merely reporting accidents and moving you away from them, the Dash comes with historical traffic data that goes hour by hour, per section of road. That means it knows that highway 80's average speed is about, oh, 20 miles per hour at 5pm going towards the bridge. And in the middle of the night, it should be 60.
But that doesn't account for one time delays like ballgame traffic and accidents. Say someone using a Dash is stuck in some traffic like that. The Dash GPSs uses its cellular data link to report slowdown to the Dash central server, which kicks down the fresh data to other users in the area. So your Dash is part of a traffic avoiding hive mind. Think about it&Mdash; Big cities are full of traffic, and early adopters, so this could really work.
Dash GPS's connectivity also makes it pretty easy to program. You can use the touchscreen. Or you can select an address on your PC, right click, and select "Send to Dash" to move it directly to your device. In the demo I saw, this took about 1 second. (Below)
Another thing that impressed me about Dash was how effectively it searches for stuff you need. Eric searched for propane, and the GPS hooked into Yahoo!, where it pulled back results for hardware stores, and other places that didn't actually have the word propane in the store's title. The web interface is tweakable, too.
One could setup Dash to update RSS feeds with geographic data, for things like apartments on craigslist, or dog parks.
The screens here are from a prototype device, so the UI has a long way to go before it starts shipping in early 2007. The hardware is a little thick around the middle, but that's ok considering this isn't meant to be a pocketable GPS, considering all that connect-licious wireless gear inside.
PS, Cory D. and the EFF Gangstas: These guys are insanely pre-cautious when it comes to privacy of location data, too. Pricing? Not yet.