Vringo. Video ringtones. Get it?

Vringo bills itself as a video ringtone service, but don't let that fool you. My theory is that the company uses the term to convince traditional media types--like those at AlwaysOn's conference this week, where I heard about Vringo--that it's a viable business model for mobile marketing. "Ringtone," after all, is an easily-recognized buzzword, and it's pretty well-known that tech-savvy kids are willing to shell out money to pay for ringtones of the hottest Top 40 tracks. (I might not be a kid, but I admit that I did pay for a vintage Super … Read more

Zoho preps another Web app: Notebook

There are several Web start-ups that I see over and over again at new-tech conferences but none that launch a new product at each show. That's certainly what it feels like Zoho does. "Look, it's another conference! Let's launch another product."

So here we are at Demo 07, and of course Zoho's got something new: Notebook. If you've used Microsoft's OneNote, you'll grok it pretty quickly. It's a content editing system that lets you create multiple sheets in one document. You use tabs across the top for major sections, and … Read more

Demo 07 preview!

PALM DESERT, CA -- There are nearly 70 companies launching new products at the Demo 07 conference, which starts tomorrow. I arrived at the show a few hours ago, and I've been poring through the conference materials trying to plan my attack. I'll have a video crew with me, and Erica Ogg, another CNET blogger, is here too. We hope to shoot some cool demos and interviews, and we'll write up the most promising new products.

We can't cover every company, so we're going to focus on the ones below first. They look like the … Read more

Start-up touts safer, fast-charging notebook battery

Boston-Power says its new battery for laptops comes with three distinct advantages over conventional ones: It recharges in about half the time, it provides about the same amount of power, and it won't blow up.

The Sonata battery, which Hewlett-Packard has been tinkering with, can be charged to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, CEO Christina Lampe-Onnerud says. Conventional notebook batteries take one to two hours to get to 90 percent capacity.

"We picked 30 minutes and drove development to that," she said. Lampe-Onnerud will show off the Sonata for the first time publicly during a … Read more

A printer without ink from Zink

Zink wants to take the printer off of your desk and put it in your pocket. The question now is whether you'll want it.

The Waltham, Mass.-based start-up has created--with help from Polaroid--a way to print photographs or documents without ink or an ink cartridge. Without an ink cartridge, the printer can be reduced to the size of an iPod or smaller, CEO Wendy Caswell says. The controlling factor when it comes to printer size is whether you want 2x3 pictures or 4x6 prints.

The first two products likely will be a standalone printer, and a camera with … Read more

SplashCast: Share everything in one place

SplashCast, launched today at Demo 07, is a free service that allows users to combine all sorts of media into one master playlist. That playlist can then be embedded on Web sites and blogs or sent directly to friends and family with a simple URL. It's basically the online equivalent of a mix tape. It's similar to YouTube's playlist maker, but with SplashCast, you can also throw pictures, text, and audio into the mix.

What's really cool about SplashCast is that your already-shared media doesn't need to be uploaded again. Pulling videos or pictures from … Read more

Use Whisher to treat anyone's Wi-Fi like it's your own

There's a new Wi-Fi sharing service launching at Demo 07: Whisher. This service competes with Fon, but has a very different architecture. (See story.)

Fon asks its customers to install Fon-powered Wi-Fi access points on their broadband connections, and it makes them all into a global shared network. Whisher, by contrast, collects the access keys to the existing routers that its subscribers already use. In other words, to put your broadband connection on the Whisher network, you give the service your Wi-Fi access point's ID and security code (WEP or WPA key), and then Whisher holds … Read more

Trailfire: More-evolved Web stickies

Trailfire, like the recently-launched ActiveWeave Stickis, lets you attach notes that other people can see to Web pages, and then link your notes together in a trail, like a old-fashioned Web ring. The product has been out since August, but at Demo 07 the company will show how it has evolved its product in a few smart ways.

Users can now leave comments on annotations, making them nice jumping-off points for focused discussions. Also, each "trail" gets its own Web page as a "trailhead." That's so Google will pick up the trails and index them. … Read more

My-Currency rates real estate pros, launching at Demo 07 on Thursday, is a complicated solution to a very simple problem: people can't tell if real estate agents are any good.

My-Currency is designed to bust through friends' recommendations and real-estate advertising campaigns in order to help you find the agents with the best knowledge of their market, as shown by how well they predict the outcomes of real estate transactions.

The site is built around a prediction market. It asks agents to predict how much properties will sell for. Agents "wager their reputation," and put in their predicted sales price … Read more

eJamming: Skype for musicians

EJamming, which makes software that enables people to practice music together if their instruments are MIDI-enabled, is announcing a service that works for non-MIDI instruments too: drums, guitars, voice, violins, etc. The idea is to let musicians practice together even when they can't get together physically, or to let students and teachers work together remotely.

There are really interesting technical challenges to making this work. Not only do you have to transmit very high-quality audio, but you have to do it with extremely low-audio latency. The eJamming founders, Alan Glueckman and Gail Kantor, told me their audio processor and … Read more