Real time Demo 2007 day 2 (part 3)
by Josh Bernoff
Demo 2007 is an incredible overload of new stuff -- 48 six-minute demos in two days. But I've had a blast breaking it down for you. So here we go ahead, day 2.
Devicescape (8:45am) -- Devicescape Connect automates connections of devices to WiFi networks. Configure your devices from a Web-based control panel on your PC. Thirty hotspot providers in their service now, more coming. Especially useful for WiFi phones. Not clear if this is defensible -- might be easy for somebody else to duplicate -- but either way this type of service is needed for WiFi phones to take off.
WHISHER (8:52am) -- Social networking meets WiFi. Users mark WiFi hotspots virtually with info about the signal so other users can get access to it. (This used to be called "warchalking" but now it's online.) Users also share files with others on same WiFi -- and see who they are. This is a community they should have success building on -- people will get value out of being a part of this club.
Boston Power (9:11am) -- Strangely, started with an endorsement from HP instead of an actual demo. Everyone knows batteries suck and they haven't improved nearly as fast as other technology. Boston Power's laptop batteries charge in 30 minutes and last three years vs. a 6-month fade in many laptop batteries. Plus they don't explode or catch fire. How fast can they scale up manufacturing?
BUZ Interactive (9:19am) -- Mixes voice and popular music to leave mobile phone voicemail messages for people. To leave it, you open up a Web site, pick the music, and then record the message on the PC or on a phone. Can do the same for your own voicemail greeting. Free during beta. I think this could catch on -- next step beyond ringtones. Their app isn't working right now on my PC, so I can't tell you how wide a variety of music choices they have -- that will make a big difference in the success.
Jyngle (9:37am) -- From Brevient Technologies. Quickly send a voice message or SMS to groups. You set up the groups on a Web site (of course). The key here is the groups -- Jyngle hopes to create social networks for mobile phones. An interesting application -- businesses will create opt-in "phone mailing lists." Would you sign up?
[Interstitial note -- looking at all these mobile applications it's clear anything's possible, technically. The main question is 1) are the mobile operators going to allow, encourage, or block any of these, and 2) how will the user determine what's actually useful to him or her? ]