GadgetFest Crowd Names EcoDog Best in Show

The moderators of San Diego’s 9th Annual GadgetFest kept saying during Tuesday night’s showcase for new technology products that past winners have gone on to even greater glory and success. That may or may not be good news for the Motorola Droid that goes on sale tomorrow at Verizon stores nationwide. After making a cursory appearance at CTIA and perhaps elsewhere, the Droid debuted its impressive features and ended the evening as runner-up.

GadgetFest moderators Ken Rutkowski and Andy Abramson reminded the audience that Grand Central, a GadgetFest winner three years ago, was acquired shortly after the 2006 event by Google (and has since been transformed into Google Voice). They also pointed to Motorola’s Q Phone, Sling Media’s Slingbox, and the Truphone as paragons of GadgetFest virtue. All three devices were introduced at GadgetFest instead of the CTIA or other major trade shows, according to CommNexus, the San Diego wireless industry group that sponsors the event.

So expectations were high. But the Droid, with all its iPhone-slaying hoopla, finished the GadgetFest competition in a dead-heat with EcoDog, a local cleantech startup that trotted out Fido—a device that helps homeowners sniff out savings in their electric utility bill. The GadgetFest judges ultimately proclaimed EcoDog this year’s best in show after the Vista, CA-based company received perceptibly more-boisterous applause from the audience in the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall at Qualcomm’s San Diego headquarters.

At the end of the show, while the judges were deciding how to resolve the tie, one of the moderators asked EcoDog founder and CEO Ron Pitt if he had anything more to say. He replied, “My product is the only product up here tonight that saves you more money than it costs.”

So what are the up and coming gadgets that got previewed at GadgetFest? Here’s a rundown, just in time for the Christmas shopping season:

—TelCentris, the San Diego-based provider of unified communications services, presented an update to its VoxOx system, which aggregates voice over Internet technology, text messaging, instant messaging, serial conferencing, file sharing, and e-mail onto one user interface. As TelCentris executives explained to me in July, the company makes most … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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