2008 wireless/mobile companies to watch

Wireless start-ups worth watching

Wireless and mobile technology remains in a ferment of innovation. Check out our 2008 picks for new companies or new products worth watching, and get ready to add yours.

Celio

A wireless, or wired, display/keyboard for your favorite smartphone. No OS, no CPU, do disk or flash, so it's not, repeat not, a subnotebook or the re-incarnation of Palm's ill-fated Foleo. Think of it as the ultimate smartphone accessory that just gives you more room to work with your handheld computer. Check out our own video of the Redfly in operation.

GainSpan

Think of Wi-Fi: think of it REALLY small and REALLY low-power, low enough you can run a wireless sensor connection for years on a standard AA battery. GainSpan created the compact Wi-Fi system-on-a-chip and software to make it possible. Sensor networks just become an extension of your existing IP network.

Mojix

A conventional passive RFID reader, which excites and reads a RFID tag up to 30 feet away. The Mojix STAR Antenna array (shown here) can do it 1,000 feet away. You've just dramatically simplified and "cheapified" RFID deployments for your supply chain.

Ozmo Devices

A Windows driver turns your Wi-Fi notebook into the center of a personal area wireless network, using the Wi-Fi adapter to talk to the Ozmo chip embedded by vendors in their wireless speakers, headsets, keyboards, Webcams, mice, and anything else you can think of. The chip has a 30-foot radius and a 9Mbps data rate.

Strata8

Strata8 has its own spectrum and offers enterprises a $30/subscriber flatrate "local cellular service" (via your own base station) that covers your building or your campus. They give you a choice of CDMA cell phones, and a link to your PBX, interconnecting both mobile and desk phones. You could save big on per-minute costs.

SynapSense

Wireless sensor platform designed to monitor and manage data center cooling and energy. Temperature and air pressure readings collected by battery-powered wireless mesh are plotted on a heatmap (shown here) of your data center. Yahoo piloted the system, and projected a 21% yearly drop in energy for cooling.

Varaha Systems

The uMobility suite is a trio of applications that forge a VPN link to the enterprise for cell phones, integrate with the PBX, create a clean, simple user interface for managing calls and contacts as well as PBX features, and manage handoffs of IP data sessions between different wireless nets. Shown at left: Windows Mobile screen of a call being made, at right, the active call session.

Visage Mobile

MobilityCentral is a hosted service, with a Web front-end, that pulls together everything you need to know about your enterprise cell phone devices, usage, plans, budget, and actual spending. Shown: summary of actual cellular charges versus budget, according to groups of users.

Wireless Grids Corporation

Innovaticus is software, now in beta test at Syracuse University, that lets wireless (and wired) devices negotiate automatically across different networks to share a range of digital content. The idea: an interoperable Web-wide grid for ad hoc content sharing. Shown: a view of the Innovaticus UI, with a list of shareable MP3 on the grid.

Which companies are YOU watching?

Jump into comments and tell us what you think...and share your own "wireless/mobile companies to watch."