MoMo Demo stars: I've seen the future

by Ben Smith on 6th July 2009

From the file marked ‘how on earth have I not finished writing this up yet?’, a long overdue review of MoMo London

Demo days are great – I get to sit back and watch other people sweat as they present their fledgling projects to the assembled mass.  It’s all too easy for innovators to play verbal ‘what if’ with just a slide deck, but on these occasions we get to see (even if just an early preview) the actual goods. Mobile Monday’s most recent event was excellent – particularly because so many of the demos covered rapidly maturing products which, frankly, I want now…

I’ve picked a few of the stars that really stood out for me:

Ben from Masabi

Masabi being demo-ed by Ben

Masabi – I have to admit I already knew of Masabi having seen a demo at a previous developer event [Video: part 1 and part 2].  I loved it then and I continue to love it now. Masabi hits the sweet spot for me of making mobile train ticketing amazingly quick – the thought that has gone into the interface is very apparent, but also gets the underlying technology right… It’s particularly smart that the application can cope if a data connection isn’t available, falling back to SMS to perform the ticket purchasing transaction.

The security’s all there too… not just in name, but certified by all the right people.  I wish I could buy all my rail tickets this way now.

Total Hotspots – Alex Housley demonstrated this tool which makes it easy to find and use your nearest WiFi hotspots or check coverage in a specific area.  In addition to a useful map-based view with operator details and pricing, the ‘killer feature’ is the user-reviews feature which allows you to rate networks or decide which to use based on others’ ratings.  Having recently paid a lot for some very unreliable WiFi, the idea of both being able to leave feedback and check if something better (and even possibly free!) might be near really appeals.

Jeff from Revoice

Jeff talks through the features of Singtone before demoing it with his own singing

Singtone – Jeff, from ReVoice, described this product to me in a pub some months ago.  I was intrigued but confused as to why Singtone – an app to adjust the tone of your karaoke singing – would be useful.  Seeing the demo was crucial to ‘getting it’ for me…  Using the iPhone version of Singtone, Jeff massacred a popular tune (“You’re too good to be true” he sang… vocally little could have been further from the truth – sorry Jeff).  He then submitted it to Singtone and replayed the processed file. The difference was astounding and the room erupted into laughter…

This is the app I want at the next party – at last something to get me out of ‘my slot’ on the karaoke or to wow my friends at the talent show they’ve insisted setting up. The song catalogue is pretty impressive too… – Simon Maddox’s Android app to look-up the ‘real’ phone number behind the local and national rate numbers companies use, costing mobile users a fortune shouldn’t need to exist… the premium mobile callers pay is a quirk few consumers understand. However, until the telecoms industry sorts its act out this app does one simple job and is almost invisible in its operation: when you call an ’0845′, ’0870′ or similar number it searches Simon’s online database for the alternative which can be called from bundled minutes.

Simon reckons he’s saved users over £50k to-date – it upset Apple so much they banned it from their App store. Even better? It’s free and Simon will share the database with anyone who wants to build on it.


Mark from AudioBoo shows the simple UI

Audioboo -This app shouldn’t need any introduction – it’s made podcasting from an iPhone simple in a way that has impressed many, including a number high-profile users from the BBC and The Guardian (disclosure: AudioBoo support The Really Mobile Project, but we thought they were awesome before that).  What excited me most though, was Mark’s introduction to the two new paid-for tiers of service which will add some useful enhancements for advanced users and a raft of controls and analytics for media organisations.  There was also fleeting mention of a SpinVox tie-in… There’s no details yet by searching of Boo content or even transcription of recordings would both be nice additions.

Artilium – Dave Hodder demoed their impressive capability to work with network operators, making it easy for them to open up their networks to third parties and enabling something (which I have to assume is witchcraft) that enabled amazingly accurate location lookups from even the most basic handsets without GPS installed.  The facility is actually built into the SIM card making it easy for operators to distribute and ‘install’ – beat that App Store!

And finally… Adam Hoyle from Do Tank Studios who showed us how easy it is to create photo mash ups on your phone using their Photofit app.  I can see no useful purpose for this at all, but the idea of putting Dan Lane and James Whatley together in some kind of mash-up… well… it amuses me.

"Have you seen this man?"

"Have you seen this man?"

Many thanks to the MoMo team for arranging this event- their care and attention to the logistics kept the event running smoothly.  I’m looking forward to the next one!

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