CES - Software and apps

CES: Optimism back as economic worries fade

LAS VEGAS--Few tech industry professionals truly relish the annual trip here each January for the ritual that has become CES, the largest and most important event on the tech calendar. But this year, for the first time in awhile, they were able to get back to complaining about long cab lines and bad food rather than layoffs and budget cuts during their week in the desert.

"Double the energy and enthusiasm at CES compared with last two years," said NPD Group analyst Samir Bhavnani on his Twitter account Friday, summing up a week that lacked a signature announcement … Read more

CES: Software and apps wrap-up

LAS VEGAS--Although hardware took the spotlight at CES 2011, there was plenty to see on the software and service side as well, particularly in conjunction with said hardware. For one, the vast majority of the latest and greatest TVs at the show were Internet-capable devices with some type of app integration. Several manufacturers of both televisions and set-top boxes will run the Google TV operating system, while others plan to offer their own proprietary apps as well.

Another hot topic from the show: Honeycomb, the upcoming Android OS designed specifically for tablets. In fact, the new platform contributed to the … Read more

GadgetTrak offers mobile theft protection

LAS VEGAS--Unfortunately for those of us who prefer to believe in the innate goodness of our fellow humans, the fact is that not all people are brimming with common decency. Theft of mobile devices is not an uncommon occurrence, especially with the rising prevalence of expensive gadgets in the general populace. And with all the information stored on smartphones these days, including confidential company e-mail and personal finance apps, its even more important to protect your device from unsavory characters.

Enter GadgetTrak Mobile Security, which has revved to version 3 just in time for CES 2011. Along with its companion … Read more

CES: Lessons from a smartphone talk

LAS VEGAS--I was lucky enough to moderate a smartphone panel at CES this year. Experts from four companies, including Mozilla and BlackBerry-maker RIM, got together to discuss the future of smartphone apps, fragmentation, HTML 5, payment, and more.

Since not all of you could be there, I thought I'd share the pundits' perspectives on what we can expect from smartphone apps and services in the next two to five years. Keep in mind, of course, that these are educated guesses, not gospel.

QUESTION: Will native apps largely fade from view?

ANSWER: Largely for many tasks, but not entirely. HTML … Read more

CES: Yahoo Local provides the nitty gritty

LAS VEGAS--Software isn't the main attraction at CES 2011, but that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of innovation to be seen on the show floor. One of the interesting developments we saw in action while trolling around was Yahoo's new Local service, a one-stop spot for neighborhood info gluttons.

With its updated Local service, Yahoo hopes to provide a hub through which users can easily access news, community information, businesses, and promotions that pertain to specific neighborhoods. For example, rather than having to check in on Groupon, the Daily Deal, and so on, you can simply … Read more

CES: A slicker Flickr coming to Windows 7

LAS VEGAS--On one charge across the show floor at CES 2011, I dropped by the Yahoo booth and got a tour of Flickr's new app for Windows 7 tablets and smartphones.

Like most media apps I've seen, Flickr lends itself beautifully to Microsoft's mobile OS. The photo service takes full advantage of Windows 7's side-scrolling interface, offering a smooth transition that takes you from recent content to tagged photos to a screen that lets you explore the larger Flickr library.* Clicking on any image takes you to a screen that offers the full array of features: … Read more

CES: BitTorrent plans torrenting ecosystem, hardware partnerships

LAS VEGAS--The grandpappy of the torrenting world, BitTorrent, announced yesterday at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show that it will bolster its torrent-managing software later this year with search and playback features. Similar to competitors such as Vuze and Miro, the ecosystem comes as part of the development of Project Chrysalis, an effort to give BitTorrent a more robust feature set and give consumers a seamless workflow from finding content to playing it back. BitTorrent recently announced that it had reached more than 100 million active monthly users.

The new version of BitTorrent is due in a public beta near the … Read more

CES: Tazzle IT sends content from BlackBerry to PC

LAS VEGAS--BlackBerry owners now have a way to send content directly from their phones to their PCs.

Introduced this week at CES, the new Tazzle IT device connects a BlackBerry to any Windows PC via a Bluetooth connection, allowing people to send e-mails, file attachments, documents, photos and other files to their computers for easier access.

BlackBerry owners install the Tazzle app on their phones and computers and then plug the Tazzle USB stick into the PC for instant BlueTooth pairing. Once the connection is established, people can not only send content from their phones but also directly view and … Read more

CES: DisplayLink app makes iPad a wireless Windows monitor

DisplayLink announced an $1.99 application today that turns an iPad into a second monitor wirelessly connected to a Windows computer.

The application works with Windows XP, Vista, and 7 and requires an iPad with iOS 3.2 or later, the company said. It's configured with the DisplayLink software that the company offers for its primary line of business, USB-connected display technology.

"The productivity benefits of multiple displays has been proven, so leveraging the idle screen of the iPad while computing is ideal for parking and for running applications like instant messaging, e-mail, social networking, Web browsing, and … Read more

CES: Samsung quietly shows off Google TV devices

LAS VEGAS--Samsung is showing off two devices running Google TV in its booth here at CES, but employees characterized the unannounced devices as an experiment.

Samsung has not officially thrown its support behind Google TV--Google's ambitious but challenged plan for sophisticated TVs--but it was nonetheless showing off both a standalone set-top box and a Blu-Ray player running the software in a corner of its massive booth here at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Executives speaking on background said the devices were being shown as an "experiment," designed to gauge feedback from Samsung partners as to … Read more