BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has acquired GPS device firm Dash Navigation for an undisclosed sum, reports the Washington Post. The report notes that Dash manufactures an in-car GPS device called ‘Dash Express,’ but has been struggling to compete with larger GPS rivals such as Garmin. It has recently shifted its business model from hardware to selling its software to other device manufacturers. Dash’s original product offered a network-connected GPS that pooled the location and speeds of all nearby Dash owners to provide them with real-time traffic reports, but reportedly suffered as it was unable to build a large enough user base. The firm – which is backed by private-equity firms Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia – cut about 65 percent of its staff in November last year as part of its shift to a software licensing model.
RIM was tight-lipped on the acquisition, neither publishing an official press release nor commenting on how Dash’s technology will be integrated into its business. However, the Washington Post likened the acquisition to Nokia’s purchase of digital mapping company NAVTEQ in 2008, which helped bump up the Finnish handset-maker’s mapping capabilities. It notes that Dash will provide RIM with some important mapping and car navigation technologies that can be applied to its large installed base of BlackBerry handsets.