So I made it down to the T-Mobile store today to check out the new black Dash (I had other stuff to do in the area as well, so its not like I blew time just to check out the newly painted Dash), and I must say, it does look quite dashing (ok, ok, I'm done) in the new black colour. Unfortunately, the lovely brushed aluminum front is gone, replaced by a solid feeling plastic, but in return, the keyboard feels better and more spaced out, even if the layout looks identical. And the blue number keys are pretty. The back is pretty much the same as before, which is good, since the rubbery backside feels great in hand.
Now, for the bad part. There is nothing in the way of hardware upgrades, absolutely nothing, not even a 2MP camera. Same old 200MHz TI OMAP850 processor, same paltry 64MB RAM, same 2.4" screen (not a bad thing), same EDGE/WiFi, same outdated 1.3MP camera. Only new things here are Windows Mobile 6.1, which is at least an upgrade over WinMo6, and the new colour scheme, which is also nice, but nothing really noteworthy to see here. No 3G, no new processor, no RAM upgrades, no better camera. So, while it is better than before, the new Dash isn't much as far as updates go. While the price hasn't changed from the previous $99 price (upgrade or new subscription), considering what you can get for around that price (BlackBerry 8120, 8320, and 8820 from T-Mobile, Moto Q9, BlackJack II, or refurb HTC Tilt from AT&T, etc) or slightly more (T-Mobile G1 for $180, iPhone 3G for $200), its pretty clear that the Dash will not cut it anymore, and needs to be replaced very soon with something significantly more competent. How about the HTC S740 as the new WinMo-based smartphone, to replace both the Dash and the similarly aging HTC-based Wing?