10 new apps and gadgets you'll want to get hold of

This week sees TechRadar out at the DEMO 09 event, which is taking place in Palm Desert, California.

The event, which bills itself as the launch pad for emerging technology, allows start-ups and established firms to show off new products and technologies that they hope will change they way people work and play.

It's what the conference organisers call a "sneak peek at the future of the technology business." Here are the 10 ideas from day one of DEMO that you'll be hearing much more about.

1. Asurion brings social media and contacts together
The Palm Pre's integrated contact list brings social media and contacts together. Asurion does that for the rest of us with Mobile AddressBook. You get to see your contacts' online information (including Flickr photos and Twitter tweets) alongside call records and text messages. Businesses can add tools like where the nearest Starbucks is, or a button to check in for your next Virgin flight next to where you'd look for their phone number.

2. Email voice and video presentations with GoView
Text email is, well, text. We communicate in so many other ways. Pixetell's tool will help you send voice and video presentations as email, with annotated documents (and it builds a conversation around a message). Citrix's GoView takes a different approach and simplifies building and editing a screencam - so you can send a quick presentation to a friend who needs help with an application, or build content that's intended for a larger audience.

3. ccBetty extracts useful info from emails
Wish you had an assistant to extract the useful information from your email? How about just the pictures, videos, addresses and dates? CC all your messages to ccBetty and it creates a web-based view with tabs for people, pictures, dates, photos, videos and other ways of exploring the interesting bits out of your messages while skipping what people have actually said to you. The user interface needs some work but ccBetty unlocks content that's usually buried in old email.

4. Search Outlook for addresses with Gwabbit
Gwabbit isn't the first tool to make it easier to create Outlook contacts from information in emails (check out Anagram), but this $19.95 plug-in from Technicopia uses speech-recognition-style hidden Markov chains to parse addresses and it lights up in any email that has a recognisable address to save.

5. Vue wireless webcams
Look, no wires at all... Vue is a wireless QVGA webcam from Avaak that's light enough to mount on a remote-control car, with a battery that will last a year (if you only use it for ten minutes a day). The $300 bundle includes two cameras and a base station; the range of the wireless mesh between them is 300 feet (900 feet with a booster) and the video streams straight onto the Web, where you can view or share it. Think checking what your cat does while you're out rather than video conferencing.

6. Touch Book netbook/fridge magnet
The ARM processor in the Touch Book netbook isn't powerful enough for Windows, but it does mean 10-15 hours of battery life in a two-pound Linux netbook. One pound of that is the pull-out $299 1024z768 resolution resistive touchscreen, which has a magnetic back so you can stick it to the fridge as a picture frame; the other pound is the $100 keyboard, which has a second battery. Plug in the screen either way round, for typing or watching video. The prototype has b/g/n Wi-Fi but if Always Innovating can find a suitable partner it'll build in 3G.

7. Low power phone displays
Your phone's display uses a lot of power. A typical LCD display chews up 200mW. Qualcomm's Mirasol uses the same techniques as a butterfly wing to reflect light and so uses very little power - around 1mW for a typical phone. As it's reflective it also works well in sunlight, just where you're likely to be using a phone. Expect it in small and secondary displays first, and then in full-size phone screens.

8. Laser etching for iPhones
Forget skins, get your phone laser etched. Coveroo uses a 1200dpi laser to cut your choice of artwork ($30) or your own design ($50) into a replacement back for your phone or iPod; that's twice the normal laser resolution so you get a clearer image and getting a new back in the post means no nasty accidents to your phone. Harder-wearing than a stick-on skin, but much pricier - and it's permanent.

9. Carbon neutral cornflakes (and more)
Are your cornflakes carbon neutral? Can they prove it? CO2code is a barcode or label that takes you to a web site that shows just how a product is carbon neutral, and how it's offsetting any production and usage carbon credits. There's even an option to choose how carbon credits are applied: if you prefer your offsets to go to a solar project rather than trees.

10. Customised online shopping sites
We're all different, and the things we want from the web are different, too. That's why it's frustrating to fight your way through a lowest common denominator ecommerce site. 7BillionPeople aims to change that, with a mix of rules engines and clickstream analysis that quickly gets a picture of how you use a site, reformatting it on the fly so you get the mix of content that suits how you shop.



Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.