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Engadget turns tech, gadgets event into a party for New Yorkers

By Dennis Clemente

In an event loosely labeled as an exhibit and conference, the Engadget+gdgt staff must have had fun foremost in mind for its Soho event last June 24. It was a party and that mood extended to the speakers from Sony and Samsung and the tech editors who made light of all the discussions and enjoyed the rest of the evening watching Phil Collins’ son emerge as a musician.

The party mood started in the queue snaking all the way from Broadway to 84 Mercer Street where outlook.com was giving away vouchers for free tacos (and free emails) at the end of the line. A barker said there was a “50-people limit every half hour” going inside. Where space is limited in this city where else can you make room but in a basement where—lo and behold– an expansive space emerged, just enough to fit more than 20 exhibitors and hundreds of people.

In separate conference room, Engadget’s editor in chief Tim Stevens, assisted by Brian Heater, director of media, called its first guest speaker, Samsung’s Nick Di Carlo, VP of Product Planning and Product Marketing, Samsung Mobile. It was noticeable how the agenda for the evening headlined the Samsung Galaxy Lounge which clearly had the biggest space among the exhibitors.

“We are proud of our Korean heritage,” he said, even though he is not Korean.
“This company has grown tremendously in five years. We have offices in San Jose, San Diego, Dallas, New Jersey and many more places.” As for products in the works, he teased us about a 10-inch phone.

Next was Sony and its new TV technology, 4K. Looking at the TV, it appears to be four times clearer than HD. It has a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. When attendees were asked how much they would spend to watch in 4K, one went ahead to say $50 before everyone whittled it down to a dollar, all in good humor.

The editors roundtable followed suit with Heater again, Jordan Crook of CrunchGear/TechCrunch, Kevin Tofel of Gigaom, Harry McCarcken of Time and Peter Rojas of gdgt talking about top tech news and trends. It was more a chance for bantering than getting into anything too serious for such an event.

“I wouldn’t mind the rumored iWatch to the Google Glass,” Crook said, suggesting it wasn’t normal for her to wear the glass, as many people may also feel uncomfortable with it.

It was also a night for presentations. Simple, Inq Mobile and Sony Entertainment had their turn.

Simple aims to replace your bank with everything you need to spend smarter and save more, including some of the best mobile apps around for iOS and Android. Krista Belincourt, communications director, demonstrated the app.

Inq Mobile’s Marcel Rutte, head of Handset Product Management, showed how it made the transition from hardware to social software. It created apps that are innately social, fuelled by the stuff you love and the full of the people you’re connected to.

Sony Entertainment Network’s Anu Kirk, Music Service Director, showed its new Music Unlimited Service featuring digital music, movies and games.

The event wrapped up with a live musical performance featuring Sound of Contact with Phil Collins’ son, Simon, performing songs from the band’s debut album, “Dimensionaut.” Earlier, Simon posed for photographers and people were heard saying he looks like Phil.

The exhibitors included Carbonite, Cookoo Watch, Cobra Airwave, Escort Radar and Laser Detectr, Gogo, Honeywell, Incipio Waterproof Case for iPhone 5, Monster, Outlook.com, Slingbox and Western Digital.