Gadget Spot: Sony Dash

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

About a year and a half ago, I introduced you to the Chumby, a device offering 800 widgets that let you watch, listen to or otherwise devour various pieces of internet content.

I deemed the Chumby a gadget without enough of a purpose, or enough about it that was different, to make it worth buying.

Three weeks ago, Sony began shipping its new Dash - which is basically a slicker version of the Chumby, complete with a seven-inch touchscreen. Customers have been eagerly awaiting the official arrival of this gadget, available for $200 at, since it was introduced last January at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Dash costs $20 more than its predecessor, but with more than 1,000 free apps from none other than Chumby Industries (note that what used to be widgets are now called apps), it's also more versatile.

The Dash is an adept multitasker. It offers news headlines, sports scores, stock quotes, calendars, weather, internet radio, photos, games and social networking, like Facebook and Twitter.

Plus, you can access a variety of videos, from YouTube clips to streaming movies from Netflix, and a slew of other content including updates from heavyweights like ESPN, CNBC, CBS Sports and the New York Times.

This product has built-in speakers, allowing audio to be shared throughout a room. The user programs the Dash, choosing the content it displays and, thus, its personality. This gadget can also function as an alarm clock.

But for all of its ability to deliver content, the Dash offers nothing in the way of portability. It can live in your bedroom, your kitchen or wherever else there's a wall plug and a Wi-Fi signal. It does not run on batteries. And without its internet connection, it's pretty much useless.

So let's review: The Dash costs $20 more than the Chumby, which I previously suggested was not worth the money. It's not at all portable. And you may have gleaned this already, but I'll just come out and say it: There's very little this gadget offers that any good smartphone can't do as well.

Which brings up the $200 question - so, like the Chumby before it, why buy the Dash?

No reason I can think of.

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