SAN FRANCISCO--Most of the new ventures launching at the TechCrunch50 conference are standalone Web sites, but not all. In years past there have been the few hardware launches, and this year is no different. Here are two new bits of hardware, and a new hardware platform that are gunning to make their way into your living room and office in the coming months.
iTwin is a two-piece bit of USB hardware that acts as a "cableless cable" allowing two computers to connect and share files as long as they have an Internet connection. There's nothing to set up, since both halves of the device are paired together and stay constantly connected. Users just plug it in, and can begin dropping files large and small into a shared folder.
The product will be available beginning early next year for $99, and comes with two paired sides that interlock when not in use. If users lose one of the two sides, they can lock down their account with an SMS message, or by disconnecting the other piece. They can also purchase an additional side, which can be re-paired.
ToyBots is a new gaming platform that lets toy manufacturers plug in their toys to an online network. Much like the Pleo, the personality of the toy can be altered by firmware upgrades, which are directly connected to the Web. Users can then play games and get feedback from their toy, as well as purchase and download new personalities and applications.
The company is hoping to get toy manufacturers on board as partners, and get them to start using the standard firmware profile across their entire line of toys. This would do two big things: let users re-use firmware or applications they've purchased for one toy, onto another, as well as keep money coming in even after a consumer has purchased a toy. … Read more