SXSWi Buzz Brands: Mashable, Highlight, Nokia, Marvel, more


So what else is buzzing at South by Southwest Interactive, apart from the Homeless Hotspots blow-up? A few tidbits:

• Rumors that CNN will buy Scottish social media pin-up Pete Cashmore‘s website Mashable for more than $200 million.

Highlight has proved a highlight of the festival, is an iPhone app that informs you when you’re near someone else with even a remote social media connection, redefining the burgeoning people discovery market. “You learn about new people you’re about to meet before you meet them,” says founder Paul Davison. “It’s about life’s connections. We’ve given the world a new sixth sense.”[more]

Nokia‘s dome-shaped lab is one of the most buzzed about branded pitstops. Activities include a challenge to take a picture via smartphone and try uploading it to Facebook before a Windows Phone-powered Nokia device does. Other lures: giant touch screens, Lumia phones and “a confessional sauna where you can let out all of your anger at the SXSW rain.”

Samsung Galaxy Note users will be the first to get Angry Birds Space before its worldwide rollout on March 22nd, Rovio and Samsung announced. There’s also a new bird on the block, “Lazer Bird,” equipped with the special powers to fight the green pigs. 

Marvel unveiled Marvel AR, its first major augmented reality app, part of Marvel ReEvolution merging print and digital media for mobile and tablets. The app (powered by Aurasma) unlocks content from Marvel’s superhero stable including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and others. The Marvel AR app will be released on April 2nd, just in time for Avengers vs X-Men #1 hitting comic stores two days later.

Amber Case, a cyborg anthropologist (talk about catchy personal branding!) and founder of, a second-generation location based service that uses geo-fences to redefine “checking in” gave the Sunday keynote at SXSW. Her premise: as screen-staring, button-clicking homo sapiens, we’ve come to increasingly rely on technologically-driven “external brains” like smartphones and computers and tablets to live our cyborg lives, as she has highlighted in a TED Talk.

“Geoloqi has the potential to use geo-fencing to redefine the possibilities of location-based intelligence. It was the most eye-opening, paradigm-shifting conversation I’ve had in Austin thus far this year,” Steven James Snyder commented on (Watch Case at the Samsung blogger lounge before her SXSWi keynote, below). If you’re at SXSW or following the action virtually, what has caught your attention?