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
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.
MoGo Talk is a Bluetooth headset that stores and charges on the iPhone. Although the design is admittedly simple and thin, I was never a fan of encasing my iPhone with anything. If you have no problem doing so, the design is certainly nice to look at, and the charging feature is very appealing. The headset itself is made from stainless steel and is small and comfortably fitting, without you having to worry about it falling off or having to adjusting it every two seconds. It features a noise isolating ear tip that forms to your inner ear to provide a clear sound.
Zvox Z-Base 525 and IncrediBase 575
Zvox let us ShowStoppers
attendees preview two speaker systems: one that is ideal for a desktop, and the other that is typically ideal for a larger television. The IncrediBase 575 has dual powered subwoofers, a 133 watt amp, and 35 Hz bass in one system. They compare the bass to a 10” external powered subwoofer, but contained in a small bar system. With five 3.25” high-performance speakers, the speaker system will fill the room three-dimensionally. Adding to its design quality, both speakers act as a base to take up as little space as possible. The Z-Base also includes a PhaseCue system that delivers the same three-dimensional sound to the IncrediBase. Both are handcrafted wood with high-gloss hand-lacquered endcaps. I can’t speak from experience as to how the sound quality fares due to volume control at the event, so I wont make any promises for the one-piece sound system.
GPS navigation app for iPhone
This fairly new iPhone navigation application includes live traffic updates and historic data to navigate you through the best routes to avoid any traffic congestion. The interface shows you a route overview, as well as detailed 3D images to accurately guide you to the correct path. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely had my share of staring competitions with GPS screens, scrutinizing the unclear arrows. The app also uses information from traffic cameras, speed sensors and traffic messages from radio networks to assess road conditions. Any updates to traffic conditions will alert the user with iconic warnings. You can select between alternate routes, or stay on the one provided after updates have been calculated. Text-to-speech is included, and the app also allows you to access your iPod functions while navigating. MobileNavigator is available for a one-time fee of $89.99 in the app store.
iSkin gave us a preview of casings for handhelds, and bags for laptops. I was more interested in the laptop bags because of the interesting designs. I was told it was a Tokidoki design, and I certainly caught onto the resemblance. iSkin is collaborating with artists to design their cases and bags, and producing great designs because of it. The interior was well equipped, perfect for business on the go or treks to your classes. They also had keyboard covers with bubble designs in various colors. The covers fit snuggly on the keys and protect them from gathering dirt and the like.