Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

A Quick Spin Around Mini Macworld (Video)

Last year, the big complaint about Macworld was that there were too many iPhone-case makers on the show floor at the expo.

This year, even the big case makers took a pass on the show.

Although attendance is projected to be up slightly, to 25,000 people, the show floor didn’t reflect the surge of popularity around Apple’s products — a surge that has led to a significant rise in Apple gear at the Consumer Electronics Show. Macworld organizer IDG World Expo wouldn’t say how much square footage it had sold this year, saying only that there were about 300 exhibitors.

The biggest name on the floor was Hewlett-Packard, whose large booth was at the entrance to the exhibit hall at Moscone West in San Francisco.

From there, the big names were few and far between. Of course, Apple wasn’t there. Nor was Adobe, or Microsoft. Also missing were big accessory makers like Belkin, Speck and Griffin.

In their place was an odd collection of start-ups looking for attention.

Several of the booths showcased former Kickstarter projects hoping for new business partners. Olloclip was there, pitching their add-on iPhone lenses, while iKeyboard was there to show a physical keyboard that attaches to the face of the iPad to give the touchscreen a tactile response. Another booth was pitching an interesting docking station called LandingZone, designed specifically for the MacBook Air.

There were still lots of iPhone and iPad cases, of course, even if fewer than at CES or Macworlds of years past. One interesting product line featured eco-friendly, made-in-the-U.S. phone cases that are also compostable, for when Apple comes out with a new model and you need to switch.

One of the other vendors that caught my eye was VanGogh Imaging, which was using four Kinect sensors to capture 3-D images and create a visual model. While creating a virtual Mini-Me, company CEO Ken Lee explained how VanGogh hopes that cellphones and tablets can be used to capture, render and display the models.

“We’re here to look for partners,” Lee said.

But my favorite was the booth for a gadget insurer called Worth Ave. Group. The company had created a cellphone twist on the classic Whac-A-Mole arcade game, allowing convention-goers an opportunity to pound out their smartphone frustrations.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google