ExecuTech: Keeping Execs Plugged in With Sherpa, Osito, Logitech Keyboard for iPad Mini, More

Intel to lower price on Notebooks, Ultrabooks

Step aside, Siri, you’ve got competition. Osito (pictured above, right), a new voice-controlled personal assistant app for mobile devices, relies on predictive technology to alert you how long it will take to travel somewhere, pull up updated weather reports or retrieve your hotel reservation at the airport so you don’t have to spend time searching for it — data it thinks you’ll need, based on your behavior, bookings and calendar appointments. Android phones offer something similar through Google Now, which, like Siri, is pre-set, and doesn’t require an app to open.

Created by former Google Ad-Words product manager Bill Ferrell, and recently backed by $1.1 million in new funding from investors including Google Ventures, Osito is ironically only available for the iPhone, although there are plans to expand its availability.

The app has some interesting competition outside of Siri and Google, however.

Sherpa (pictured above, left), another virtual assistant, is headed Stateside after building a following in Spain and Latin America.

Available for Android devices, the app aims to limit the dependency on search engines, and pulls up information rather than links. It also includes features like the ability to play music requested via streaming services, dictation of posts for Facebook, shows mentions on Twitter, and makes PayPal payments through voice commands (concert and airline tickets can be purchased through the app).

Until it officially launched April 18, Osito was also developed under the brand name Sherpa, but founders changed the name when “we learned that there are a lot of Sherpas out there,” the company said in a blog post on its site. New name “evokes all sorts of futuristic and magical possibilities.”

But with both apps offering similar services, the keys to their success will prove to be design and ease of use. Each is faster than Siri, an automatic plus, but while the first is clearly designed for the business pro, the other is far less buttoned up, and relies on cute animated characters to stand out.

Words With Friends
Logitech.com $80

Designed to work like the Smart Cover for Apple’s tablets, Logitech’s latest Ultrathin Keyboard Cover is a perfect companion for the iPad Mini. Although its qwerty keys are a little cramped for some fingers, the lightweight wireless device, with its slim aluminum cover, pairs up instantly with the Mini without any glitches, and protects the screen when not in use.

Powered Up, Ready to Go
Mophie.com $100

Let’s be honest: The battery on your iPhone could be better, to put it mildly. But Mophie has consistently provided the best solution available with its Juice Pack Air. Lighter and thinner than previous models, the well-designed battery case covers the back of an iPhone 5, providing up to 100% extra power with the flip of a switch.

Waiting Game Worth It

After launching the Ultrabook laptop at the Consumer Electronics Show two confabs ago, Intel is still looking to build up the brand, and believes lowering the price will help. The company says notebooks with Windows 8-powered touchscreens will drop from at least $400 to a total of around $200, while Ultrabooks will fall to as low as $500 when Intel’s new Bay Trail processor becomes available later this fall. The chip will enable devices to be designed as thin as 0.3 inches, and boast all-day battery life and weeks on standby.

Facebook Unfollow?

When distilled into an hour, online time spent on social-media sites like Facebook in the U.S. — the most dominant market for social media consumption in the past three years — dropped from 30% to 27% in 2012. On mobile devices, it’s even less. Here’s how people spent their time on their smartphones and tablets during the first quarter of 2013.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Barron HiltonBarron Hilton 1990

    Famed Hotelier Barron Hilton Dies at 91

    Barron Hilton, a famed hotelier who helped expand the Hilton Hotels empire and a founding owner of the Chargers NFL football team, has died, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced. He was 91. “Today the world of hospitality mourns for one of the greats. Barron Hilton was an incredible family man, business leader and philanthropist. [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content