IN BRIEF: RIM buys GPS company Dash

According to a published report, Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion Ltd. has purchased GPS navigation system maker Dash Navigation Inc. The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business said the acquisition had been confirmed, but no dollar value or other details had been released.

Dash is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and venture-funded by a VC group including Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byer. The company’s flagship product, Dash Express, delivers live traffic information through an Internet connection. The Dash Driver Network uses historical and sensor-based data to deliver traffic information in real time, according to the company Web site.

The purchase will allow real-time traffic information delivery on RIM’s GPS-enabled BlackBerry smart phones.

Smart phones still strong, despite overall decline in mobile phone sales

First-quarter shipments of traditional mobile phones fell 37 per cent this year, while smart phone shipments grew by 33 per cent, according to IDC Canada Ltd.’s revised Canadian mobile phone forecast. The results are largely due to increased shipments of BlackBerry smart phones to the channel.

Overall, mobile phone market sales to channel partners fell 23 per cent compared to the first quarter last year. While drops in first-quarter shipments to the channel are typically related to seasonal factors, IDC notes this year’s drop was “especially sharp” due to the recession.

Weak demand from end users, higher unemployment and tighter credit conditions are listed as contributing factors.

IDC Canada predicts an 8.3 per cent drop in the global mobile phone market this year, but anticipates the smart phone segment will continue to grow by 3.4 per cent.

OCRI taking entries for Canada’s Top 10

Cleantech, life sciences and technology companies can now apply to The Canada’s Top 10 Competition, sponsored by OCRI, Ottawa’s lead economic development agency.

The competition promotes the 10 most promising comanies in each of the three categories, according to a press release.

Winning companies are exposed to international investors and industry insiders, and have access to coaching clinics, investment forums, potential strategic partners and more.

More information and the application form are available at

Web marketing budgets on the rise in 2009

Web-savvy businesses will cut their budgets in 2009, but not in the area of Internet marketing, a recent survey revealed.

Toronto-based Internet design and marketing firm Cost Effective Web Design found that businesses with a Web presence realize the value of Web marketing and are willing to step up budgets for promotional efforts.

Specifically, 52 per cent of respondents said their company recently trimmed, or expects to within a year, but 76 per cent reported an expected increase in their Web marketing budget in 2009. And 86 per cent of respondents said Web marketing will account for a larger proportion of their advertising budget with the next three years.

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