ROAD TEST

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@fin­week.co.za

CON­TACT DE­TAILS used to be sim­ple: name and num­ber. Later we added cell­phone num­bers and email ad­dresses and now peo­ple have long lists that in­clude their Skype user­name, in­stant mes­sag­ing de­tails, Twit­ter, LinkedIn and nu­mer­ous oth­ers. A busi­ness card sim­ply isn’t big enough to con­tain it all. En­ter Po­ken.

I first saw a Po­ken at the Hong Kong Elec­tron­ics Fair this year. It’s a small de­vice in plas­tic re­sem­bling a USB thumb drive. What Po­ken does is al­low you to dig­i­tally and in­stantly swap con­tact de­tails with some­one – no pen or cards re­quired.

All you do is sim­ply touch your Po­ken against some­one else’s Po­ken and your de­tails are trans­ferred. So when you plug the Po­ken into your com­puter it up­loads all the other per­son’s con­tact de­tails, in­clud­ing con­nect­ing you to all his so­cial net­works, such as Twit­ter and Face­book.

When you first use a Po­ken you don’t even need to set up an ac­count – sim­ply start Po­ken and you can do the on­line set up later. Po­ken lets you cre­ate an ac­count on its web­site, where you en­ter all your con­tact de­tails you want shared with oth­ers. Po­ken also al­lows you to cir­cum­vent tricky sit­u­a­tions where you don’t re­ally want to ex­change de­tails with some­one: sim­ply press a but­ton and it goes into “ghost mode” – which means ei­ther none of your de­tails will be trans­ferred or the other per­son will only re­ceive lim­ited de­tails you’ve spec­i­fied on the Po­ken web­site.

Its mak­ers say they’re tar­get­ing the de­vice at con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers, who could eas­ily pro­vide all del­e­gates to their events with Po­kens when reg­is­ter­ing. I’ve been us­ing the de­vice for a cou­ple of weeks but so far have only met five other peo­ple us­ing it. The Po­ken web­site is still a bit rough but it’s be­ing im­proved. The de­vice works as ad­ver­tised, but bat­ter­ies don’t charge from your USB port – so you have to re­place them ev­ery few months. Other than that, Po­ken (or a de­vice like it) is set to be­come the killer of the busi­ness card. PRICE: R250. MO­BILE TV AROUND THE COR­NER GOOGLE HAS UN­VEILED a new prod­uct called Wave that aims to com­bine email, so­cial net­works, in­stant mes­sag­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion tools. Wave has been called “the next gen­er­a­tion of email” by an­a­lysts and al­lows peo­ple to or­gan­ise their com­mu­ni­ca­tions, even with peo­ple of dif­fer­ent lan­guages, as Wave has a built-in trans­la­tion ap­pli­ca­tion. Us­ing Wave you can

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