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SXSW Interactive 2013 Trade Show Favorites

The SXSW Interactive 2013 trade show featured exciting and innovative products and exhibitors. Themes included waterproof cases, 3D mobile apps, privacy and more.

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Topic: Developer
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1 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 Trade Show - 3D exhibitor map

Within its sprawling, multi-day, overlapping South by Southwest expos dedicated to technology, music, film, education, gaming and hardware hacking lived the SXSW Trade Show. Like an expo within the expos, the Trade Show included a bit of all the topics covered by SXSW and also featured a wide range of innovative tech products as well as startups and organizations such as the Knight Foundation, the EFF and public art collective Illegal Art.

The SXSW 2013 trade show was the best one I've attended in many years - and I went back more than once. There were hundreds of exciting companies to discover. The above photo is the 3D interactive, touch-screen rotating map with all the exhibitors. The show also had a stage with ongoing entertainment and panels, a meetup lounge, an 'exhibitor crawl' open to anyone and lots of freebies.

Photo by Violet Blue.

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2 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Ghostery - SXSW 2013 Trade Show

One of the recurring themes on the trade show floor was user and consumer privacy. I was excited to see one of my favorite privacy companies Ghostery with a booth and very friendly staff. According to one staffer, this year they were seeing a noticable shift in public awareness with more people understanding and interested in internet privacy products than ever.

Photo by John Adams.

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3 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Blink FX - SXSW 2013 Trade Show

Blink FX looks amazing, and the company had a big booth at the expo. They will be debuting their product today, with the help of LL Cool J. The individual wearable LED lighted devices can put audiences into the lighting design of any show, as they pulse en masse and in synchronicity to the beat (or tension) of music or stage productions. They're controlled by DMX512.

Photo by John Adams.

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4 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 Trade Show - Mophie

Old favorites had sprawling booths, and this included mobile battery makers Mophie - with their newest chargers on display and for sale. Companies like Mophie used the expo as an opportunity to socialize with their customers and the atmosphere was relaxed.

Photo by John Adams.

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5 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 Trade Show - Mophie

On display: the Mophie Juice Pack battery case for iPhone 4/4S ($79.95), which doubles the battery life of the phone, just like the Mophie for Samsung Galaxy S3 ($99.95) that I used throughout SXSW 2013.

Photo by John Adams.

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6 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Motus at SXSW 2013 Trade Show

There was no shortage of products focused toward the creative sector, which was refreshing after hearing so much general sentiment that 'white collars' held majority in attendee demographics (as aopposed to creatives, which many felt were in the minority more than usual) at Interactive.

Motus Digital Motion Capture Studio held court with hands-on demos and more.

Photo by John Adams.

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7 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Electronic Frontier Foundation at SXSW 2013

The Electronic Frontier Foundation - the world's leading organization dedicated to defending civil liberties and digital rights - had a trade show booth as well as workshops, panels and sessions for EFF's SXSW 2013

Photo by John Adams.

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8 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Henge Docks at SXSW 2013

Simple and elegant docks for Apple products: I'm glad I discovered Henge Docks at the expo. Their upcoming product the Gravitas Dock ($69) is on my 'want list' and now available for pre-order. It's a weighty, sleek matte aluminum dock with sturdy changeable inserts that keep an iPad, iPhone, iPad Mini or iPod Touch upright for use and charged. 

Photo by John Adams.

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9 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Henge Docks at SXSW 2013

Simple and elegant docks for Apple products: I'm glad I discovered Henge Docks at the expo. Their upcoming product the Gravitas Dock ($69) is on my 'want list' and now available for pre-order. It's a weighty, sleek matte aluminum dock with sturdy changeable inserts that keep an iPad, iPhone, iPad Mini or iPod Touch upright for use and charged. 

Photo by John Adams.

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10 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Aurasma at SXSW 2013 Trade Show

The Aurasma demonstrations had trade show attendees gathered and in awe. In fact, I immediately downloaded the free app and took a brochure to dinner after the expo to show my colleagues how it works.

HP's augmented reality platform (SDK, iOS and Android, free) uses a smartphone (or tablet's) camera to detect images and overlay rich media animations in 3D on top to turn an image into a visual experience. It's primarily pitched for print media, but here is an example of live-world overlay:

Photo by John Adams.

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11 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW 2013 Trade Show trend: waterproof cases

Another recurring theme at the expo was waterproof (and even freeze-proof) cases for smartphones and tablets. Above is Lifeproof's iPad case (starts $99.99).

Photo by John Adams.

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12 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Lifeproof at SXSW 2013 Trade Show

This iPad lived underwater in a fish tank throughout the trade show.

Photo by John Adams.

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13 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Go Puck SXSW 2013 Trade Show

Spotted: a Go Puck prototype for the company's next ultra-portable battery - in a carbon fiber case. I'm kicking myself for forgetting to go back and get the 2-for-1 expo discount for a Go Puck standard (it holds four times as much as a Mophie).

Photo by John Adams.

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14 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

SXSW Trade Show Tweet-activated candy dispenser

Many exhibitors had playful toys that often simply delighted passers-by. For example, to use this candy dispenser, all we needed to do was @ reply the company on Twitter and add the hashtag for which kind of candy we wanted it to give us. The company was a garder-variety domain registrar.

Photo by John Adams.

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15 of 15 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Hatsune Miku at SXSW 2013 Trade Show

The Hatsune Miku phenomenon had a large presence at the expo. Hatsune Miku is a "vocaloid" - a singing, performing 3D virtual persona that has an enormous, devoted fan base. The female animation performs live concerts, and 'her' songs are crowdsourced (contributions from fans comprise much of the songs). As someone who covers a variety of tech trade shows (for over a decade), this exhibit completed my sense that the SXSW 2013 Trade Show was truly a world-class, unforgettable experience.

Photo by John Adams.

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