Tina Fey and Steve Carell for the movie Date NightEnlarge Photo
Today, most of the tech world's attention is focused on Apple and the likely debut of the iPhone 5 (and maybe the iPad Mini). But there's another tech story on the West Coast that could have a direct effect on your love life -- especially if you drive a Ford.
In San Francisco, the gadget blog TechCrunch has been holding its annual "Disrupt" conference, and as usual, one of the most popular on-site events has been its Hackathon competition.
As you might expect, the Hackathon encourages developers, tinkerers, and instigators to fiddle with existing technology and make it better. That technology includes computers, smartphones, robots, vacuum cleaners -- almost anything you can think of.
As part of last year's Hackathon, Ford launched the Ford SYNC AppLink Developer Challenge. The winner of that challenge, Roximity, was an intriguing app that promised to push deal notifications to your smartphone as you traveled around town, kind of like a wandering Groupon. (FYI, Roximity recently debuted in a more polished form for iOS devices, and we wouldn't be surprised if it soon became part of the app lineup on Ford SYNC.)
This year, the big winner of Ford's Developer Challenge was an app called Dates.fm. Though it sounds like a match-making service, it's actually aimed at couples looking for fun date-night experiences.
In practice, Dates.fm is a lot like Roximity: as you're driving around town, with your smartphone connected to Ford SYNC, Dates.fm shares nearby date-night options -- maybe a meal at a romantic restaurant, or a night of dancing at a music club, or for the old-school, a brisk game of laser tag. Dates.fm allows users to "like" those options and review them later, so when you're sitting at home with your honey, instead of racking your brains for something fun to do, you can scroll down your saved Dates.fm list.
Dates.fm seems to be on the fast-track: on its website, the app appears to be launching in about a month. In the meantime, the app's developers -- a too-cutesy-by-half startup called BeCouply -- are preparing to travel to the Consumer Electronics Show in January to demo Dates.fm at the Ford booth. And they'll enjoy a $1,000 cash prize from Nuance (the creator of Dragon NaturallySpeaking software and perhaps the engine that powers Apple's Siri) for the app's impressive voice-command integration.
Does this seem like an app you'd use, when you and your S.O. can't decide on what to do Saturday night? (We've all been there.) Drop us a line, or leave a note in the comments below.