DEMO: Up close and personal with Intelius’ DateCheck app (video interview)

intelius-21It didn’t win the big prize at the DEMOfall 09 event. But Intelius‘ DateCheck app for the iPhone was one of the most-talked-about at the show.

The DateCheck app runs background checks on your date in real-time so you can figure out if it’s time to make an excuse and head for the door or stick around.

John Arnold, executive vice president of Intelius, explains to us in this video what the app can do, it’s implications for safety and privacy, and how the company plans to make money with the app. Editing courtesy of Alexa Lee of Ooyala.

Sony sells a million PS 3 Slim consoles in three weeks

ps-3-slimSony’s PlayStation 3 console is finally picking up steam. In the past three weeks, the new smaller and lighter PS 3 Slim has sold a million units worldwide.

Those are the best numbers the third-place console has had in a long time. The PS 3 has been in third place since its launch in 2006 because of its higher price. Sony has tried to argue that the Blu-ray movie player included in the console makes it a better deal.

But things are looking better now that Sony cut the price of its 120-gigabyte hard drive model of the PS 3 Slim to $299, which is $100 cheaper than the previous price. Microsoft followed suit with a $100 price cut on the Xbox 360. But Microsoft hasn’t yet crowed about a big increase in sales. Reports on online commerce sites suggests there is more demand for the PS 3 Slim now than the Xbox 360. But we’ll see how that holds up over time, particularly since Nintendo has just announced a $50 price cut for the Wii console, which is now $199.

Nintendo finally confirms $199 price for the Wii game console

wii1Rumors of a Nintendo Wii price cut have been swirling since Microsoft and Sony cut the prices on their game consoles in September and August.

Now Nintendo has finally confirmed that it is cutting the price of the Wii from $249 to $199. It took a while to react, but Nintendo hasn’t been under much pressure to match its rivals.

That’s because of the enormous popularity of the Wii. In any given month in the past, Nintendo could count on selling twice as many Wiis as its rivals combined. That’s why the company kept the price of the Wii at $249 since its introduction of the new hardware in the fall of 2006. That’s an unprecented length of time for no hardware price cut.

But Nintendo played the strategy right. While Sony’s PlayStation 3 came out at the outrageous price of $599 in 2006, and the Xbox 360 debuted at $399 in 2005, Nintendo priced its Wii console at a much more affordable price. It already had its hooks in the mass market audience at the get go, while the others played the game of cutting prices over time until the mass market could afford. Now that the PS 3 Slim and the Xbox 360 are priced at $299 each and they’re starrting to stir up better hardware sales, Nintendo is reacting.

Nintendo has also had to pay attention to sales this year. The Wii’s sales have flattened, and for six months now, Wii sales have not beaten year ago sales. Lots of consumers have been waiting for Nintendo to make a move. But it seemed like Nintendo was milking profits due to the Wii’s popularity. That’s a dangerous game to play, but it’s good to see that Nintendo is interesting in pumping new life into the recession-stagnated console video game market.

DEMO: Emo Labs and Liaise win $1M media prize

demofall_0911Two companies have been selected at the DEMOfall 09 conference to receive $1 million in free advertising. The winner on the consumer side was Emo Labs, which developed a speaker that delivers great sound, despite the limited space in high-definition TVs. The enterprise winner was Liaise, which makes email more useful by looking at the contents of your inbox, figuring out which items require action, and turning them into a to-do list.

The companies were selected by a group of expert judges and will receive the free advertising over six months. Those ads will placed in publications owned by IDG, which owns the DEMO brand, and which partners with VentureBeat to produce the conference. IDG publications participating in the prize include CIO magazine, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, PC World among others. VentureBeat will also participate.

Besides the big prize, seven companies also received DEMOgod awards. Five of them were launching presenters:

Emo Labs

Intelius, whose DateCheck application can tell you instantly with a quick background check whether you need to make an excuse and back out of a date as soon as you can.

Zorap, which delivers video chat rooms where friends can hang out, chat, and share video or audio.

LocalDirt, which connects buyers and sellers of locally-grown produce and meat and dairy products.

TwirlTV, which launched a new social TV web site for friends to share TV viewing experiences, even when they’re not together.

There were also two winners who participated in the Alpha Pitch program, where they gave 90-second pitches about products that are still in development:

Pinyadda, which helps people deal with news overload by highlighting articles recommending by their friends.

ShareGrove, which helps people start private conversations with friends on Facebook and other social networks.

In addition to celebrating new companies, the conference also gave out lifetime achievement awards to past demonstrators who have gone on to do big things. The lifetime winners were:

  • Shai Agassi, Founder & CEO, Better Place (DEMO Debut: TopTier, 1997)
  • Colin Angle, Chairman of the Board, CEO & Co-Founder, iRobot (DEMO Debut: iRobot, 2000)
  • Helen Grenier, CEO of Droid Works, Inc. (DEMO Debut: iRobot, 2000)
  • Ed Colligan, Former President and CEO, Palm, Inc. (DEMO Debut: Palm, Inc., 1996)
  • Donna Dubinsky, Founder, CEO & Board Chair, Numenta (DEMO Debut: Palm, Inc., 1996)
  • Jeff Hawkins, Founder, Numenta (DEMO Debut: Palm, Inc., 1996)
  • Marc Benioff, Founder & Chairman, (DEMO Debut:, 2000)
  • Mike Cassidy, Co-Founder & CEO, Ruba, Xfire, Direct Hit, and Stylus Innovation (DEMO Debut: Xfire, 2005)
  • Diane Greene, Entrepreneur, Founder and Former CEO, VMware (DEMO Debut: VMware, 1999)
  • Subrah Iyar, Founder & “former” CEO, WebEx (DEMO Debut: WebEx, 1999)
  • Keng Lim, Founder, Chairman & CEO, NextLabs (DEMO Debut: Kiva, 1997)
  • Kevin Lynch, CTO, Senior VP, Experience & Technology Organization, Adobe Systems (DEMO Debut: Adobe Systems (for Air/Flex), 2007)
  • Teresa Meng, Reid Weaver Dennis Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University (DEMO Debut: Atheros Communciations, 1999)
  • Andy Rubin, Vice President, Engineering, Google (DEMO Debut: Danger Research, 2001)
  • Ben Trott, Founder & CTO, Six Apart (DEMO Debut: Six Apart, 2004)
  • Mena Trott, Founder & President, Six Apart (DEMO Debut: Six Apart, 2004)

At the end of the ceremony, a surprise lifetime achievement award was given to Chris Shipley, DEMO’s executive producer, who is handing the role over to VentureBeat Editor Matt Marshall. (Okay, it wasn’t really a “surprise,” but it wasn’t announced ahead of time.)

For more DEMO coverage, check out our roundup of presenting companies.

Finally, an app store for Twitter from Oneforty

twitterbirds1For Twitter newbies and pros alike, a wealth of apps have cropped up over the past year with scarcely any way to search through and elevate the best of the pack.

oneforty-logoSo Twitter for Dummies author Laura Fitton is launching oneforty today, a store for third-party applications. Users can tag, sort and review a little over 1,300 apps while each application gets its own page where people can add comments and screenshots. (Because so many apps are free, Oneforty’s less a store and more a community-edited directory).

The most popular apps on the site at the moment are URL shortener, which is responsibly for compressing links on Twitter, Twitter client Tweetie and WeFollow, which is a directory for people to follow. Developers can register with the site and “claim” apps so they can manage their page.

Oneforty, which takes its name from Twitter’s 140-character limit, will earn revenues by keeping a share of an app’s price (so free apps obviously won’t have to pay a transaction cost). They’ll also offer paid spots on the site to promote apps, which will be marked as sponsored placements.

There are plenty of lists and rankings online for third-party applications and Twitter has a directory, but the user reviews and ranking should go a long way here.


DEMO: CallSpark gives salespeople data to make smarter phone calls

callspark-logoEver feel like you were making a sales call that you didn’t have enough information for? CallSpark says it can help, by integrating data from Facebook, Twitter,, Whitepages, and more. So before and during a sales call, you can see the latest social updates from your client, and then update their status in your customer relationship management (CRM) service afterwards.

This isn’t just for salespeople, though. Callspark also gives you a much wider selection of phone numbers at your fingertips. If you need to call a person or a business but their number isn’t in your on-phone address book, CallSpark might still find the number from your social networks or elsewhere on the web.

The startup company has an iPhone application and a mobile website accessible on other smartphones. It’s launching at this week’s DEMOfall 09, the technology conference co-produced by VentureBeat.