The mobile device once used simply for voice calls is now like a tiny computer. We take a look at four companies trying to make it that much easier to get work done on a phone.
Josh LowensohnFormer Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
The business apps panel at Wednesday's Under the Radar mobile conference had four companies trying to solve two big problems in business: communication and sync between multiple machines.
Of the four, one of the most attractive upcoming solutions for SMBs is Phonetopp. This takes standard desktop Web demos and meetings and shrinks them down to your mobile phone. This means road warriors could get the visual part of a Web meeting without having to fire up their laptop or hunt around for a hot spot.
Phonetopp is set to hit BlackBerry and iPhone users in early February and will let you control meetings using hardware-specific shortcuts. For the iPhone, this means you can use gestures like pinch and rotate to control PowerPoint presentations. Eventually the company hopes to sync up with Salesforce, and work on Windows Mobile and Android devices.
Fellow presenter Apisphere is also onto something big for road warriors; more specifically, the people who are keeping an eye on them. Apisphere's platform can keep track of employees and their habits based on information from their mobile devices. Don't think of it like spyware though. Founder and CEO Craig Harper explained that his system could be used to track a truck and the person driving it, so if you notice one is moving without the other you can take action--like calling the police.
Two other companies from the conference are doing exciting things in sync--both in data and contacts.
Soocial, a company that features David Hasselhoff as its unofficial mascot, is trying to make contact sync for mobile phones better. It works with popular tools like Apple's address book, 37signals' Highrise, and Gmail to let you manage and sync your contacts across multiple devices. Today the company announced support for Microsoft's Outlook.
Likewise, My Boo--an OS in the cloud solution the likes of Ghost, has a different value proposition: sync that data with the computer you're using. This means if you're using your cloud OS from a coffee shop or other public computer, it will sync over all those files to your usual machine and visa versa. That's just plain smart. The service is launching in January.
We've got more hot mobile companies coming later today. Be sure to keep an eye on our CoverItLive live blog to get the tidbits as they happen.