Where Africa and Technology Collide!

At DEMO ’08 Day 1, First Session

I’m currently at DEMO ’08 in Palm Springs, California. Mike Stopforth and Juliana Rotich are here too as part of a panel that will be speaking on Africa and what’s important to know about it as an emerging market. That happens tomorrow, so today I get to just sit back and watch some of the new products being introduced.

DEMO 2008 Stage

Here are a couple that I find interesting so far:

Skyfire Mobile BetaBoth a well done demonstration, and a really impressive looking product. Skyfire allows you to see the full PC web on your mobile phone. It handles all types of complicated things, ranging from ajax to Flash to DHTML. They showed us live head-to-head results versus the top phones and other mobile web browsers including the iPhone and Opera Mini. Honestly, the had me when they pulled up a complicated site like ESPN.com so quickly on it. It’s launching in public beta today, so give it a try.

SpeaklikeThis is a real-time automated translation service. It allows you to chat with people and translates back and forth in real-time. This is a very intriguing product, you type text in your language, and others see it in theirs. I don’t know about you, but I can think of a number of ways that this could be highly useful in Africa. I’m going to talk to them at their booth to find out a little more about available languages, and the ability for users to adjust the settings to take into account local language differences.

Kids and Education
Leapfrog just announced a new product called “Tag”. It’s a small pen-like device that reads their specialized books and has allows children to interact with books in ways that I’ve never seen before.

launched a new “school finder” feature that looks good too. They’re starting to call themselves the “WebMD of education”. They seem to have the right type of content and connections, so I can see how that could be true.

Favorite moment so far: demonstrator for Taktumi curses as his presentation doesn’t work…

Other bloggers and resources at DEMO ’08
Marshall Kirkpatrick of RWW
Frank Gruber of Somewhat Frank
Shel Israel of Global Neighborhoods

DEMO 2008 Toolkit by RWW
Live video from DEMO 2008
Twitter updates (seem broken at the moment) but most people are sending comments to @Demo08

1 Comment

  1. Your first round of links shared are interesting, thanks, and am looking forward to more of your discoveries on my breaks in the following days.

    SpeakLike: Only available Languages at this time: English, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish. The real-time availability and schedule constraints of the human translator does not appeal to me, but I’m interested to hear what you discover and what languages they will be adding that will be helpful throughout Africa for those with only cell phones at their finger tips. Improving the accuracy in machine-translated services is still a worthy goal.

    “Favorite moment so far”
    Funny! It is sad, but I would have enjoyed his curses as well, privately of course!

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