May 25th AppShow Recap

Wow what a show! Despite a rainy day in San Francisco and President Obama’s motorcade making it a little difficult to get down to 111 Minna from other parts of San Francisco, 200 people packed 111 Minna and filled our live studio to capacity.

After our preliminary remarks, the show started with me asking Dale to tell the audience about our guest host, Gina Smith. Dale’s response “I don’t know what to tell you.” As I’m writing this I face the same quandary. Gina put in a huge amount of work prior to the show and spoke at length by phone with each developer prior to meeting them on stage for the first time. The results of her journalistic research showed as her interviews, humor, and ability to juggle 10 presenters and keep everything right on pace made this the best SF AppShow yet.  You can watch the recording of the show here.

Here’s a run down of what was presented.

We started the Show with three 30-second video demos. Transporter was Ljuba Miljkovic’s masters thesis project at UC Berkeley and brings a unique take on finding real-time information on public transit in the Bay Area.  Next was HereDeal, which gives location based information on items being sold by individuals by location.  The last of the three 30 second demo videos was StarMarker, a recordable, shareable, Karaoke app.  Since Karaoke is often enjoyed drunk, Dale wondered whether the app included in-app cocktails.

The nine, six minute interview based demos started with Laura Yecies, CEO of SugarSync talking to Gina Smith. Laura explained that SugarSync “is a full service application that allows you to upload all of your data to the cloud and synchronize it in real-time between all of your devices and then that data is securely backed up to the cloud.” Laura termed SugarSync “a personal cloud”. She demonstrated SugarSync’s upload by email. Laura explained that SugarSync is different from Dropbox and MobileMe in that “SugarSync works the way you want to work. With Dropbox you have to take your files and put them in a special box (in the dropbox). In the case of MobileMe you have to put them on the iDisk. With SugarSync you can sync any folder. You don’t have to worry about moving your files around, you work the way it’s comfortable to work and SugarSync does the work for you in the background.” SugarSync also allows you to move only portions of your data in the cloud to devices with limited storage, whereas MobileMe and Dropbox require synching your entire database, which isn’t practical for a device like an iPad that may only have 32 GB of storage.

Jeremy Bornstein from Subutai explained that his company, co-founded by science fiction author Neal Stephenson, have developed an online serial novel, The Mongoliad, that comes out of Jeremy and a bunch of his friends learning classical European sword-fighting of the 1200’s. Jeremy explained that the advent of the iPad allows for creative possibilities for engaging audiences well beyond simple eBooks. Other authors involved with the project include Greg Bear, Nicole Galland,and Mark Teppo. The Mongoliad, is a collaboration between the authors and others with subject matter expertise in art, martial arts, and sword fighting to add authenticity to all of the sequences in the collaborative novel. Mongoliad contains movies, music, and pictures, but the core of the app is the prose experience. In working with Neal Stephenson to create content for this new platform, Jeremy stated that “we’re not trying to get Neal to write shorter books, just lighter ones.”

Christopher Schardt returned to the SF AppShow after presenting Moe’s Notes in March to give a sneak peak at Moe’s Notepad (for iPad).  Since presenting at the March SF AppShow, Moe’s Notes became the #1 Paid Productivity app and was the #7 paid app overall for several days. Whereas Moe’s Notes (for iPhone) requires multiple screens to use the app, Moe’s Notepad takes advantage of the larger real estate on the iPad to allow the user to see an audio, image, video, text, and tagging areas all on a single iPad screen.  Moe’s Notepad is expected to be available in the iTunes App Store within days.

Richard Lawler demonstrated Pattern Music which has been a Top 10 Music app for the last month and a half. “Pattern music is designed to allow people to create their own original, compelling music on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. We wanted to create an environment to do that, that’s appropriate in a mobile context.”

Mike Smithwick informed Gina that California had voted Pluto back as a planet. Mike has the distinction of having one of the longest lived apps in Distant Suns that was originally developed for the Amiga in 1985. Gina described Distant Suns for iPhone as the “astronomer in your pocket” and Mike replied that the iPad version is the “astronomer under your arm.” Mike showed how his planetarium app could show constellations like Orion, planets like Saturn, or even responding to Gina’s question “the dark side of the moon using ambient light.” It doesn’t yet include comets, but may soon.

Lawrence Coburn, CEO of DoubleDutch described their platform as “more than Four Square for the enterprise. It’s Geolocation for your community.” During his demo Lawrence asked the community to consider “the communities that are important to you. Maybe it’s your school, maybe it’s your company. Maybe you’re a photographer. Maybe you’re a basketball player. We bring the geolocation functionality that’s changing the way people interact on Four Square and Gowalla, we bring that same sort of social geo functionality to your group.”

Julian Nachtigal of E-Contact Pro, explained that their app uses manual transcription instead of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to turn physical business cards into contacts on your iPhone. “You take a picture of a business card. It sends it to a back office and people manually transcribe and input all the data and then it syncs back to the app and the native address book on your iPhone. ” The app costs $3.99 and uses in app purchase to sell business card scans for $0.10 each. Cards generally take 24 hours to be transcribed.

Vadim Dagman of Digital Prunes demonstrated their Slingshot Safari game, a cartoonish game with the real feel of shooting a slingshot to hunt down charging African animals. Best audience question of the night, “Can I use Slingshot Safari to shoot at custom animals like my ex-boyfriend?” Maybe in a future release.

Ryan Graves of UberCab explained that they provide an on demand car service that is at a much higher level than what you would traditionally get in a cab. Ryan differentiated UberCab from Cabulous and Taximagic, explaining that they handle the end-to-end from booking the ride through handling payment. “We’ve effectively created the private driver experience.” The app currently only works in San Francisco, but plans to expand include New York and LA.

Pankaj Kedia of SF AppShow sponsor Intel demonstrated several Intel reference designs of next generation Smartphones built around their Atom chip.  Pankaj highlighted the ability for these phones to play full 1080p HD videos as well as to render sophisticated 3D graphics and fast motion (100 frames per second) for advanced gaming on a phone.   He let the audience know that phones built around this Intel technology would be available within 6 to 12 months and implored the developers in the audience to build apps for their new platform.

Following Intel, we received brief updates from AppShow alumni including:
Michael Ang, Magic Window became the #1 App in Paid Entertainment, #7 overall. They have a new update with 5 new scenes and 6 photographers worldwide.
David Barrett, Expensify launched an iPad app. “You can now do everything you ever did or didn’t want to do for your expense reports on the iPad.”
Joel Susal, Pana.ma have launched on Android and Blackberry. Public timeline has taken off.

Valerie Mih, informed the audience that since presenting at the SF AppShow in March, 3D Storybook had been consistently in the Top 20 Paid books on the iPad and briefly broke the top 10.  They plan to launch three more 2D and 3D storybooks this summer. Collaborating with 2 journalists and a developer See Here Studios won the “hackers and hacks unite” contest with a Citizen Kid News App idea that they plan to build into a real app.

Eddie Marks, Inedible Software now have a total of 9 apps, including a brand new version of Air Guitar with tutorial videos.
Chester Santos closed the show by impressing us again with his phenomenal memory recalling when asked a random year by Gina Smith that Canonero II, ridden by Gustavo Avalo won the Kentucky Derby in 1971 in 02.20. Chester’s Steel Trap app allows you to train your own memory for similar feats of recall.