Developers for 10 mobile apps pitched their products to a room full of tech media Saturday afternoon, hoping to win the Mobile Apps Showdown, put on by Netshelter Media.
In its second year, the showdown brought a variety of different products to the competition, ranging from health-related apps to virtual keyboards to mitigating the danger of texting and driving, something that is illegal in dozens of states.
Robin Raskin of Living in Digital Times told the crowd that she hoped the competitors would dazzle them.
Peter Sisson of toktumi, the makers of Line 2, explained the merits of the software which allows users to have three way phone calls while making use of WiFi or 3G cellular data first before using plan minutes. The subscription price also includes unlimited texting. The idea, as was cleverly articulated in a give and take between a woman named “Lois” who complained about her jetsetting daughter using up all their minutes and causing outrageous charges with daily communication while traveling. I’m sure I’m not doing it justice and the humor was definitely PG-13 but it got the point across.
Meanwhile, more than 83 million people have downloaded webMD mobile, which was presented in a way that may have reminded some of “The Hangover” and how you can figure out what happened after that Vegas all-nighter with the help of webMD, which can help you figure out what may be ailing you with a symptoms check list, as well as direct you to the nearest physician or pharmacy as well as even identify that pill in your pocket that seemingly appeared out of nowhere while enjoying the night life on the Strip.
Drive Safe.ly was inspired, explained Heath Ahrens, by an employee of iSpeech (which developed the app) who got into accident while texting and driving.
They demoed the app by showing off its ability to read off texts while one is driving. The first text was from “bed intruder” and the text warned the recipient to “hide yo wife, hide yo kids.” Then there was a text from “Ron Jeremy” asking about checking out the other convention happening in town the same time as CES. So, the PG-13 humor continued. Next was a text from an attractive British woman who tagged the recipient in all her photos of that party last night on Facebook, “and do you remember that?” Finally there was a text from “your angry ex-girlfriend.” You can imagine how that went.
Next up was Twonky Media, which can be found in the Android Market, that takes the media content from your phone and sends it to other devices on your home network.
“You don’t really need cables, you just need your TV, your phone and you can enjoy your media,” the company’s representative explained.
Gary Goldstein, founder of Pageonce, explained his app by showing off all the ways it can help keep one’s finances organized with simple and intuitive views of accounts, bills and more. The app, however, also offers as much detail about where your money is going, how it’s invested, what bills need to be paid and when, and Goldstein even said he could see exactly where his wife was using their credit cards.
Later, two volunteers helped demonstrate iHealth, an app that Dr. Andrew Brandeis described as being about education.
The two men sat in chairs and were hooked up to iHealth, a blood pressure monitoring app, on iPads. They were then put under stress… by watching an attractive young woman dance. And then it got interesting when an attractive young man began to dance, too. I’m not sure if the BP readings showed a spike but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
Next up was IDEAL ItemID, which helps those who are visually impaired, by reading out information from bar codes, for example. It was inspired in part by students at the Ohio State School for the Blind.
Steven Jacobs, president of IDEAL, explained that the company gives its apps out for free and also gives its code back to Google so that other developers can improve upon them. More than 1 million people have downloaded those apps but Jacobs said that while the number seems big, he would like to see 130 million users grab the apps.
One of the things that is probably helping keep BlackBerry sales up, explained Joe Braidwood, is “one thing that really sucks on touchscreen phones is typing.”
Braidwood was demonstrating Swiftkey, a new predictive text entry program meant to take typing on virtual keyboards to a whole new level.
Autocorrect can have its downside, like completely striking out when you’re trying to type out “a terrible case of the Mondays,” something Office Space fans will immediately recognize. Except for when autocorrect changes the word completely making the phrase embarassingly unrecognizable.
Instead, Swiftkey not only does that better, it attempts to make it possible to type out sentences using a word ribbon rather than the virtual keyboard and after you’ve used it long enough it should recognize with high accuracy your most commonly used words and phrases.
The developer presentations were rounded out with Quickoffice, which “let(s) you view and create Microsoft office files, collaborate through cloud storage providers and manage your files on your smartphones and your tablets,” explained president Alan Masarek, as well as ooVoo mobile which provides video calling from cell phones to PCs, among other options. ooVoo mobile actually successfully completed a video call during the four minute presentation time to employees based in New York.
I won’t reveal the winner of the showdown but the online contest winner was decided and the prize was given to Line 2, which won with more than 51,000 votes, Raskin said.
Look for another post by Jeff about the developer that won the coveted Mobile Apps Showdown title.