DEMO 09 Sees Focus On Mobile - InformationWeek

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3/2/2009
07:20 PM
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DEMO 09 Sees Focus On Mobile

The number of enterprises deploying smartphones will grow rapidly over the next few years, as reflected by the number of products showcased for managing and securing these devices.

Six companies presented at the DEMO Conference on Monday afternoon, all highly focused on applications for smartphones and mobile devices.

The DEMO Conference is an annual showcase for small and startup companies that want to pitch their products and attract new investors.

The theme for the first afternoon session was "I Love My iPhone." And as ought to be expected, the focus was on mobile devices.

The most promising was Promptu Systems, which demonstrated its ShoutOUT voice-to-text SMS application for the iPhone. ShoutOUT lets users record a voice message, convert the message to text, approve the message, and send it.

Speaking to his iPhone, Scott Maddux, VP of marketing for Promptu, said, "I'm here presenting on the DEMO main stage and really hope for high accuracy."

The text message returned was close -- "I'm here presenting on the dental main stage and really hope for high accuracy" -- but not quite perfect, a common occurrence with voice-recognition applications of all sorts.

Still, as anyone who has ever struggled with the iPhone's keyboard can attest, there are times when sending a voice message is preferable to typing. If ShoutOUT doesn't take off, then Vlingo or something like it will.

Coveroo also had a service that looked like a winner, even if the name is a bit too similar to the kids' underwear brand known as Underoos. The company provides back plates with customized laser etchings for a variety of mobile devices. Though completely unnecessary, it's a simple idea that's sure to appeal to those looking to add a personal touch to a mobile device.

HAM-IT was somewhat less compelling. It promises to allow consumers to broadcast what they're looking for, where they are, and when they need it, so providers can bid to meet those needs. Think of it as a search broker that offers commercially oriented queries to the highest bidder.

That sort of middleman position would surely prove profitable, but it's doubtful that any business wants to help HAM-IT onto that throne. And existing search providers like Google aren't simply going to leave the middleman chair open for HAM-IT to occupy.

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