Macworld Expo 2010: Best of Show


Just before opening the show floor to the 2010 Macworld Expo, the editors of Macworld and Matt Marsahll, the founder of VentureBeat, announced the winners of this year’s Macworld Expo Best of Show. The winners this year heavily favor the iPhone (s aapl) or hardware solutions with very little Macintosh software represented. From that group of 12 winners, seven were chosen to give six-minute demonstrations of their products on stage in the style of the DEMO conference.

I made a few notes on a couple of the products that intrigued me. You can get the full details at

Canson Papershow has an interesting take on the digital pen trend. Papershow lets you draw on special paper that is printed with invisible microdots that let the camera in the pen track the exact position of the pen. The trick here is that the software is focused around live streaming of the pen position, rather than capture of what was written for transfer to the computer later. You can write and draw right on top of your slide presentation in real-time. The solution consists of the pen, the special paper, and a USB stick with the software on it. A nifty little product that offers something (live streaming) that is not available in other digital pens.

Carina Software SkyFi is a Wi-Fi access point with a RS-232 serial port that lets you drive an automated telescope mount. I think there will probably also be some cool applications for this device in the home automation business where some high end home theater equipment still comes with RS-232 interfaces for control where Infrared might be impractical or unreliable.

FastMac U-Socket is a wall socket replacement that includes two USB ports.

Frolicware Autopark provides iPhone software to help you find where you parked.

Inrix Traffic Pro lets you use your iPhone to plan the best route to your destination before you leave by analyzing traffic and historical trends.

Kanex HDMI to Mini DisplayPort Connector enables the video-in port on your 27″ iMac so that you can use that beautiful screen with a Blu-ray player, PS3, Xbox 360, etc.

Marketcircle Billings Touch is a gorgeous iPhone app that can work standalone or as a companion to the desktop version of the Billings invoicing application.

Microvision ShowWX is a laser-based pico projector that can project a bright, colorful image on any surface in a package about the size of an iPod Classic. Because the light source is a pinpoint laser and not a diffuse LED, the image is always in focus, even on an uneven surface. These devices, priced at a reasonable $500, might be perfect for the road warrior looking to lighten their load. I talked with Matt Nichols of Microvision on the show floor for a bit, and the technology here came out of Defense research into wearable heads-up displays. While this pico projector won’t make you Robocop, it might be nearly as useful as Teflon.

Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite lets you connect to your documents in cloud storage and edit documents and spreadsheets on your iPhone.

Sachmanya Yapper is a web-based service for quickly creating iPhone (and Android) apps from existing RSS feeds. They have special Macworld Expo discount pricing through Saturday. Be sure to check it out now if you’re interested because the discount is substantial.

Ten One Design Inklet is software that lets you use your trackpad as a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet.

The DEMO format for this year’s presentation was quite good and a nice change from the standard award show presentations. The heavy emphasis on iPhone and hardware solutions this year gave me the impression that some innovation in Mac software was overlooked. Next year, perhaps Macworld Expo will just flat out change the name to the iPad Innovation Awards.


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