MobileFocus Showcases New Smartwatches, Tablets, Wireless Gadgets

Products ranging from smartwatches to rugged tablets and mobile peripherals for road warriors were on display at the MobileFocus show on May 13.

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SAN FRANCISCO—A virtual makeup app to spruce up that LinkedIn photo, rugged tablets and more made up the eclectic mix of products on display here at MobileFocus, a technology showcase for tech journalists held periodically in different cities throughout the United States.

Perfect 365 from ArcSoft seemed better suited for a fashion show, but a company spokesperson made a surprising business case for the free app that lets you enhance your facial image using the digital version of makeup to smooth out wrinkles and eliminate spots that make you look older. "It's great for your LinkedIn photo when you want to present a younger image to potential employers," she said.

Released in February, the company says the app now has more than 50 million users and is available for Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices. An array of "tweaking tools" lets you do things like whiten teeth, brighten eyes and get rid of blemishes. Of course, at some point you will meet the potential employer for real, so you probably don't want to make too dramatic a makeover.

Arbor Technology showed a more typical business product, a line of ruggedized Android tablets and phones designed for the enterprise. The company introduced its lightweight (0.75 pounds) Gladius 8E tablet at the event.

It's an 8-inch, Android tablet priced at $295 with a microSD slot for adding storage. The unit includes 5MP rear-facing and 2MP front-facing cameras, 2GB memory and 16GB of storage, as well as a 64-bit Intel Atom quad-core processor.

Arbor's rugged line of devices is designed for the enterprise and comes with a pledge that the company will keep new designs in stock for at least 18 months so that customers don't have to worry about replacing products or having to create new images for a different replacement product during that period.

"We also give you a six-month notice when we're going to change a design," Brian Yurkiw, vice president of Business Development for Arbor, told eWEEK.

For those who already have the laptop and tablet they need, Zolt showed off what it claims is the world's smallest power adapter for connecting multiple devices. The Zolt Laptop Charger Plus is just a little bigger than a roll of quarters and is slated to ship this summer.

Not only is it far smaller than other power adapters, the Zolt is a 3-in-1 device for charging a laptop and two other devices, such as a phone and tablet, simultaneously. The company says it's been granted 42 patents and filed more than 100 in total. It also has some heavyweight backers in the form of two big Silicon Valley venture capital firms: Khosla Ventures and Intel Capital.

Company spokesman Steve Gibson said the Zolt will sell for $99.99 and include a two-year warranty and nine different "tips" for connecting different devices.

Another company making mobile news is TypeTime, which announced a Kickstarter campaign for its novel iType Android smartwatch. The iType is the rare smartwatch that lets you type on the screen rather than having to rely on voice input or being connected to your smartphone.

You can, for example, type messages in Twitter and other apps available for the iType. When you want to type, the screen shows six "buttons" that each have groups of letters. You just have to press on a group and the software anticipates what letter in the group you want to select and then, by the time you've pressed a second and third button, it shows its best guess of the word you're trying to type, which you can select by tapping.

Another exhibitor, HomeAdvisor, talked up its online marketplace for home improvement service professionals. Where services like Angie's List offer a directory of all kinds of services, a spokesperson for HomeAdvisor claims it's unique in specifically focusing on home improvement and screening all the service providers at the site (including criminal and financial background checks). It also checks to ensure they are available to perform the services they offer.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...