Mobile apps come into focus at DEMO

At DEMO this morning, I saw an iPhone app that lets you fill in and sign documents (with your finger), a free service that lets you make a mobile app in 5 minutes, and a mobile app that lets parents control their kids' smartphone use (which is cooler than it sounds). One thing all of the presenters at this morning's session had in common: Not a single mention of a carrier.

Here are my favorites:

AppWhirl, Inc.; Mountain View, California; www.appwhirl.com

AppWhirl is a free service that lets you make your own mobile app in just 5 minutes. Pull feeds from social media services and blogs... in other words, make apps a new channel of communication, says CEO Richard Jordan.

Voxofon, LLC; Houston, Texas; www.voxofon.com

Voxofon Ambit lets parents monitor and manage a child's smartphone use. Children can only call a pre-approved list of contacts and parents receive notification if a child tries to access services or call someone not on the list. Less big brother, more big mother.

Zerista, Inc.; Denver, Colorado; www.zerista.com

Zerista is a web-based mobile community platform that lets you create a custom mobile community with full control over the privacy of the group, the ability to add members, post maps, and, like all good mobile apps, is location aware. It also offers a commerce feature -- in case you need to sell T-shirts for your kid's Little League team.

ABJK NewCo, Inc.; Austin, Texas; www.zosh.com

Zosh is an iPhone app that will untether you from your fax machine. Zosh lets you sign documents on your iPhone's screen (with your finger). You can then preview the signed document, move your signature into position, and date it. (Watch co-founder Joshua Kerr smash a fax machine in the video below)

We also heard from three AlphaPitch companies, who made 90-second presentations of their fledgling offerings. Here's the quick and dirty:

flinc; Dieburg, Germany; www.flinc.mobi

flinc is a ride-sharing system. I like to think of it as hitchhiking 2.0. The difference: The driver gets paid.

R3 d.o.o.; Maribor Slovenia, Europe; www.mmatcher.com

mmatcher is a real-time, local classifieds app. Think Craigslist, but NOW. Example: I post that I want to buy a bike, mmatcher will find someone who is selling a bike.

ThickButtons; Palo Alto, California; www.thickbuttons.com

ThickButtons is just the thing for the thick-fingered touchpad typist. As you type, ThickButtons enlarges the buttons it thinks you're likely to use and shrinks the useless ones.

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