RIM gets more GPS property with Dash acquisition

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion has reportedly acquired former connected navigation device maker Dash, which left the hardware business in late 2008.

PND maker Garmin showed off its nuvifone concept in the beginning of 2008, and a year later re-announced that it would be launched as a joint project with novitiate smartphone maker Asus. Also in 2008, leading mobile phone maker Nokia completed its acquisition of navigation company Navteq which was announced in 2007.

But RIM's acquisition of Dash differs from those other pairings because unlike Garmin (a device maker), and Navteq (a mapping company), Dash's focus is software. In fact, Dash co-founder Brian Smartt was recently granted a patent for GPS software that identify when a vehicle is driving in an unmapped or incorrectly mapped area, and corrects the map database accordingly. For example, the map database may not recognize that an area has been closed down or changed for long-term construction, so the traffic behavior in that area will change the map.

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RIM has not said how Dash's software will be used, but the acquisition at least brings the company some unique GPS intellectual property.

Location-based services (LBS) company TeleNav did not comment on whether RIM's acquisition of Dash would manifest itself as new software for the popular smartphone. With its AT&T Navigator holding the position of top-selling data application by revenue for the carrier, and its white label and branded services accounting for 42% of US carriers' consumer mobile app revenue, Telenav is a leader in this field.

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