Innovation on Macworld Expo Show Floor

By David Needle

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SAN FRANCISCO – Maybe Macworld Expo should borrow a page from Apple and change its name. Last year, Apple changed its name from Apple Computer to simply Apple, Inc., reflecting its broader-than-Mac product portfolio. While there were plenty of Mac-related exhibitors at the annual show here this week, the exhibit floor was peppered with iPod, iPhone and iTouch-related products as well.

Several products shown are designed to better integrate or help user's exchange data between Apple's different products.

Eqinux previewed its TubeStick Hybrid, due out in February. The pocket-sized USB device is designed to bring digital and analog TV to Macs and PCs. The TubeStick includes two built-in receivers for watching free over the air digital HDTV as well as standard analog NTSC programs. It's priced at $129 with initial availability at the company's Web site.

While there are plenty of TV receiver options for computer users, TubeStick adds community features. You can, for example, see what other users are watching and share comments while the shows are being broadcast. You can also schedule downloads using the system's electronic program guide and view them later on your iPhone or iPod.

Nova media released FoneLink 1.5, a cell phone "companion" designed to facilitate the transfer of contact info from a non-Apple cell phone to a Mac and then onto an iPhone. The new release ($50, or free demo version includes a synchronization manager to sync contacts, dates, notes and bookmarks between a Mac and the cell phone.

After the Fone2Phone has finished copying, iTunes can be used to sync and transfer the new data to an iPhone. "From one screen, everything is automatically copied," said Nova media spokesman Jan Fullemann.

Ovolab showed off a new version of its unique Geophoto software for the Mac. Instead of organizing photos by name or other means, Geophoto lets you organize them by location by simply dragging images onto a world map or typing in the city, state or landmark name. The $19.99 software also has a social networking aspect, as it works with Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing service, letting you see what other users are posting by clicking on specific geographical locations on the map.

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