10 really cool new apps and gadgets you've never heard of

Phone Halo
Don't lose your phone with this wireless keyfob that beeps if you're getting too far away from your phone – or your money

Some companies come to the DEMO conference looking for investors so they can get their idea to market; others are on sale the day they go on stage.

Some products sink without trace, others go on to be household names (Palm launched at DEMO). Not everything is brand new –last year Gwabbit won the coveted Demo God award, this year the Gwab-o-sphere service that works with it won again.

Some of the neatest DEMO launches may never make it, but these are the ones we most want to use ourselves.

1. GlideTV Navigator

GlideTV Navigator is a neat little $99 RF remote control which balances comfortably in one hand, while the big curved touchpad in the middle makes it easy to glide around even a big screen.

You can use it with Windows Media Center or a PlayStation 3, but it also comes with its own multi-tab browser (based on Truveo and Mozilla) for searching and watching online video.

Glide tv

Press the search button and you can choose search engines that specialise in video, and the on-screen keyboard offers video-related predictive text. You can leave video playing in one tab while you search in another, or you can browse what's on by category and get thumbnail clips that also give you a great overview of key news and sports stories.

We like Hillcrest's Loop better as a controller, but the Navigator comes with a browser with more features.

2. Vivox

You can send instant messages without leaving Facebook and now you can make voice calls to friends in your social network - turning Facebook into your phone book.

Vivox is bringing the same voice chat it already has in Second Life and on Sony Online Entertainment to sites like Facebook, Google Wave and Ning - and if you can't make it to your PC or Mac you can join the call from any phone.


Calls are free but you might get short audio adverts, or Facebook could sell you a custom phone number with your name in it - or special voice effects, so you can sound like a munchkin or an elf.

3. Genieo

You can check out headlines from your favourite sites in an RSS reader and updates from your friends on social networks, but Genieo puts them side by side on a web page that looks like a newspaper site.


Your top story might come from the BBC - or Facebook or Twitter, depending on what's important to you and Genieo works that out by watching you as you surf; the information stays on your PC, the company promises, rather than being used to build a profile to sell you ads or reveal who your contacts are - but you can also see your customised page on an iPhone or Android device.

4. ThickButtons

No matter how good you are with the keyboard on a touchscreen phone, it's never as good as typing on a physical keyboard. ThickButtons makes it far easier to type without mistakes; as soon as you hit one key, this replacement touch keyboard calculates which keys you're not likely to need and shrinks them down, making the keys you will want to type bigger and easier to hit.


Working out the letters you don't need is easier than working out exactly which word you want, so it's faster than many predictive text systems. Plus a highlight around the key you're most likely to type makes it faster to find the key you're probably looking for.

It learns as you go and while it's not perfect it will speed you up. The Android version is out now and a Windows Mobile keyboard is on the way.


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.