ShowStoppers in NYC


posted 9/24/2009 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
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Last Wednesday, the 16th of September, ShowStoppers came to NYC to present previews on upcoming gadgets, tools, applications, and all things technology. Although there was nothing necessarily mind-blowingly original to see, the event gave us press a chance to note a few trends that are developing and where companies are taking them. For one thing, no one can avoid the presence that the iPhone and iPod cloud over the techno-world. Heck, I would’ve attended an iPhone App event, and incidentally the iPhone applications presented at ShowStoppers were, to me, the more appealing presentations. Social networking is also hugely popular, so the attention it has been getting comes as no surprise. Many of the previews I saw attempted in one way or another to integrate social networking into their products. Check below for a glimpse of some of the products featured at the event.


Web-based writing tool
FastPencil helps writers develop their talents by helping them to write, publish, and distribute their work. By providing templates and writing tools, FastPencil eases the somewhat cumbersome process of creating your work. Using the tools is free, but when you get to the distribution process FastPencil will charge a specific price for the respective method. They cover everything from printing bound books to eBook formats (iPhone, Kindle, Amazin, Barnes & Noble). They’ve even collaborated with Facebook so you can get friends whose opinion you value to take a look at your project. You can currently gain access to the novel writing template, but look out for new templates soon to be announced on the 29th of September. Think LinkedIn, but with even more tools and a more comprehensive portfolio. They also have connections to Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and Twitter to get your work more exposure. I got to play around with the Personal Memoir book template. The interface is pretty simple, and it allows you to go back and edit between chapters to your liking. The service also helps you design and format your book, including covers and images. Silver and Gold level members can use other services like consulting and author and editorial services.

Escort – Radar/Laser Defense System
Radar/Laser detector
Let’s face it – we’ve all had our encounters with the sneaky radar speed detectors. Escort answers the groans of all us drivers out there with their radar and laser detectors. At ShowStoppers, Escort showcased some of their windshield mounted and custom installed radar and laser detectors. Interesting features include access to their web base to receive accurate and up-to-date information, GPS technology to ensure there are no false alarms, speed-based radar sensitivity that adjusts based on your vehicle’s speed, voice alerts, automatic volume control, expertmeter to track and display 8 radar signals, and database ports to access information on speed traps, cameras and red lights. Depending on what particular needs you have, you have a selection of detectors to choose from. While the custom installed detectors will be a bit pricier, they are definitely more discreet as they don’t sit exposed on your windshield. The devices are legal in 49 states, minus Virginia and DC, but they’re allowed to sell to all 50 so it’s basically a “use at your digression” situation.

Handheld application for recording radio broadcasts
FlyCast is a digital media recorder application currently available for BlackBerry devices but soon to be available to the iPhone and other handheld devices. The application allows you to record radio and Internet radio broadcasts on your mobile device by storing it as cached content. You can skip between tracks and pause live recordings. It works something to the effect of TiVo for radio, conveniently located at your fingertips. The interface is sleek and uses a cover flow for sifting through music. FlyCast also offers additional options like one-click in-application purchasing, and Twitter and Facebook integration. You can post links and tweet songs you are currently listening to. Your followers just have to follow the link to hear the entire song. With a one-time charge of $9.99 you will receive 5 hours of caching storage, and 20 hours if you cough up $19.99.

Vuzix – The Wrap
Portable video screen in sunglasses
They look like motorcycle sunglasses, but they feature video feed compatible with any audio/visual device including the iPod/iPhone. The Wrap can be used with any desktop or laptop as well. For us gamers, however, the appeal is that it can be used for the PSP. It includes twin displays that are meant to replicate the experience of a range of 46”-67” screen depending on the model. They also come with in-ear noise-isolating earphones. It might seem like a cool idea, but the image quality wasn’t too impressive. I’d stick with the PSP graphics. Also, I’m not too sure motorcycle style glasses are fashionable.

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