Medl Tech portable monitor gives idea for iPad

PALM DESERT, Calif.--Here at DemoSpring 2010, one of the "Alpha pitches"--those from companies not yet developed enough to make it to the main stage--is Medl Technology, which is trying to bring its 13-inch battery-powered, USB-driven portable computer monitor to market.

It's a nice product, but very niche. Geeks who want more working real estate on the road, or pitchmen who want a secondary monitor when they're doing on-screen presentations might find it worthwhile to carry this secondary display. But I don't predict success for this product; the market's just too small.

On … Read more

Gwabbit's handy contact slurper gets cloud sync

PALM DESERT, Calif.--Gwabbit, the contact-slurping tool that launched at last year's Demo conference has made the much-needed shift to the cloud.

The new tool offering, which the company is calling the "gwab-o-sphere," takes the contact information gathered from incoming e-mails and syncs it with updated information from places like Twitter, Facebook, and If changes are made by these users in any of these locations, the updated information is ferried back over to Gwabbit, where it's synced back out to all the clients with the Gwabbit plug-in installed.

The need for services like … Read more

Motolingo brings telematics to clunkers

Motolingo's Motoriety is a neat tool that marries the data your car is generating in real time with the power of a smartphone to bring some pretty modern capabilities to older cars. There's hardware, software, and a Web service involved in the product, but it looks like it should all work together well.

The hardware component is a small black box that you plug into your car's diagnostic port (all cars built after about 1996 have them). It communicates via Bluetooth to software on your smartphone and monitors things like road speed, engine performance, and the causes … Read more

Phone Halo tracks any gadget's whereabouts

PALM DESERT, Calif.--If you've ever lost your keys, phone, or both at the same time, a new company called Phone Halo has a tool for finding them.

Launching at the DemoSpring conference here, Phone Halo is a $60 gadget that turns your BlackBerry or Android phone into a handheld finder. Unlike some more traditional key finder hardware, however, Phone Halo integrates Bluetooth and GPS to create a tethered radius for your gadgets. So, if one of them goes out the door without the other, you get a message about it back on your phone, or through e-mail and even Twitter.

The hardware itself is a black module about the size of a car alarm dongle that packs a speaker, Bluetooth, and GPS antenna and can be attached to your keys, briefcase, or anything else. When your gadget goes missing, you can just open up the Phone Halo app on your phone, then toggle it to beep. The transmitters also can transmit a beep back to your phone, so you can hit a button on the unit to start ringing your handset. This works even if you have it set to silent, the same way Apple's "Find My iPhone" feature does on MobileMe. … Read more

Fliptop makes RSS feeds more accessible

PALM DESERT, Calif.--The first demo at the DemoSpring conference here that actually made me want the product being shown was from Fliptop.

CEO Doug Camplejohn showed off two aspects of his new content subscription service. The first is a "subscribe" button that publishers can put on their sites. Like the ShareThis service that lets publishers replace dozens of social-network sharing buttons with one, Fliptop's button gives readers a lot of controls to subscribe to content on sites. They can select all content, get digests, ask for only new stories that meet a filter, and so on. … Read more

When Exaudios is in use, it pays to get angry

PALM DESERT, Calif.--One of the coolest demos at DemoSpring here is from Exaudios.

The company's new Maginify product analyzes the intonation of someone on a phone call and can tell if the person is calm, beginning to get angry, or seconds from blowing up. It also identifies other emotions, but for this product, the focus is on happiness and anger. The service is being pitched to call centers, though there is potentially more to it than that.

You may rightly note that most humans have the innate ability to tell if the person they're speaking with is … Read more

Flinc will turn your car into a taxi (fare included)

PALM DESERT, Calif.--Flinc is one big idea that could save us all from the horrors of pricey cab rides. Unfortunately, it's years away from showing up in a major U.S. city.

The idea, as pitched in 90 seconds at this year's DemoSpring conference here, is that people who are driving around are often in a position to pick someone else up in return for some cold, hard cash--yet for much less than a taxi.

Sure, it's ride sharing with a receipt, Flinc's organizational system happens entirely in the cloud. The commands get sent … Read more

Brandfolium tries to make Twitter advertising palatable

PALM DESERT, Calif.--Brandfolium's Navid is a clever yet creepy marketplace for ads on Twitter and other social services. With this service, a marketer can find an online writer who's willing to accept paid endorsements in his or her feed, put a price on the paid mention, and schedule the campaign. The site should launch shortly.

Writers open to these campaigns have to register on the service so marketers can find them.

In the launch presentation Monday at the DemoSpring conference, the company's CEO showed a geographic component of the service, too. Marketers can find, on … Read more

The rise of iPhone app making for dummies

PALM DESERT, Calif.--If you thought Apple's App Store was getting crowded, we've got bad news. It's about to get worse.

Appwhirl and Appvoyage--a pair of new companies launching here at the DemoSpring conference, are trying to make the process of creating an iPhone app and submitting it to the App Store take less than five minutes and something that requires no programming prowess whatsoever. In fact, building them takes place right in your Web browser.

Are these apps capable of building mind-blowing games, or complex business apps? No. For both companies, the expectation seems to … Read more

PayPal wants your start-up

After revealing at Demo the winners of its Developers Challenge, PayPal had a consolation prize for the companies that didn't win the award: the company is announcing a funding project for new apps builders. Participants in the PayPal Startup Accelerator Program can get not just funding, but space at the PayPal building as well as access to PayPal's marketing muscle.

Given the inevitable growth of competitive payment technologies (see Square), it's smart for PayPal to encourage companies to build on its platform in whatever way it can. And let's not forget: Doing a start-up on a … Read more