When I started up this blog almost a year ago, one of my intended uses for it was collecting your input on the stories I should cover. But I’m sorry to say that I’ve neglected that possibility for far too long–even though it’s always dumb for a journalist to neglect the collective intelligence of his or her readers.
cassetr: Apps like Instagram, which makes photos taken with the iPhone’s 5-megapixel sensor look like the output of a Kodak Disc Camera, proved there’s a market for low-fi media. This upcoming iOS app does the same thing for music, adding realistic tape hiss to your 256 kbps iTunes Store downloads. In-app purchases will let you layer on other effects, including Dolby B, C or S noise reduction and the dreaded warble of a tape about to unspool.
Drive.DJ: This networked entertainment system ends in-car isolation by allowing drivers to pick music and video for passengers to enjoy on seat-mounted iPads. The vehicle’s built-in LTE receiver allows for enjoying streaming media from apps like Netflix and Pandora, posting Twitter and Facebook updates on the road and even placing Skype calls to other cars equipped with this system.
ATM Machine: If you’re tired of walking up to a cash machine and being annoyed at its low-resolution interface–or, worse yet, discovering that it’s out of money–this Android app may be change you can believe in. It combines a sophisticated geographic database and automated detection of the tell-tale beeps of an ATM keypad to check you in at each transaction and invite you to grade the experience–with results instantly posted online. (Its developers note that you can opt out of the auto-check-in feature by sending a letter via certified mail to their Cayman Islands offices.)
RTGtoGo: Smartphone battery life isn’t getting any better, external battery packs need frequent recharging too, and solar-cell modules require sunlight. This new power pack, developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, uses the same radioisotope thermoelectric generator technology that powers the Voyager space probes to provide constant electricity anywhere you go. Revolutionary carbon-fiber shielding makes the RTGtoGo compact and light enough to take in a carry-on (pending approval by the TSA, FAA, ICAO and IAEA).
GrocerWe: Finally, an end to the poignant “what do I get?” uncertainty that’s stopped many of us in the supermarket. This free, crowd-sourced grocery-list app–for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7–lets Facebook friends and nearby GrocerWe users fill out your shopping list for you anytime you’re within 1/4 mile of a grocery. Its developers are also exploring monetization strategies that would let merchants push suggestions to users in their stores.
Yes, this is yet another silly April Fool’s post. Except that one of these fake products is based on a very real demo I saw earlier this year. Which one is it?