CES Round-Up: Great Quotes Edition - InformationWeek

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1/11/2010
03:46 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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CES Round-Up: Great Quotes Edition

I had countless conversations with tons of people in Las Vegas last week during the Consumer Electronics Show that made for great soundbites. Others made headlines all on their own with their quotable quips. Here's a collection of what I and others heard from the newsmakers out there in the desert.

I had countless conversations with tons of people in Las Vegas last week during the Consumer Electronics Show that made for great soundbites. Others made headlines all on their own with their quotable quips. Here's a collection of what I and others heard from the newsmakers out there in the desert.Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein wins. He said, "I have never used an iPhone." That's awesome. This is from a man who worked at Apple for years and has developed one of the more complex mobile operating systems to compete with the iPhone.

The Sprint version of the Palm Pixi does not have Wi-Fi. The Verizon version does. I asked if there were any changes made to the chasis or design of the device to accommodate the new feature. I was told, "The Pixi was always designed to have Wi-Fi on board. Sprint asked us to remove that feature." Wow, Sprint deleted Wi-Fi from the Pixi? That's a shame.

AT&T's Ralph de la Vega let the cat out of the bag on two separate news pieces that neither of AT&T's partners are willing to admit to. During his address at the AT&T developer conference, de le Vega said that AT&T would soon be offering phones running Google's Android OS and Palm's webOS. In fact, de la Vega even showed a slide with the Motorola Backflip on it, complete with AT&T branding. Despite the public outing, Motorola won't comment on its network operator partner for the Backflip. Palm denied any sort of new phones for AT&T, saying that the company hans't even announced a partnership with AT&T.

I was speaking to VoxOx's founder about its new Personal Assistant feature. The feature lets users take advantage of a remote, computerized personal assistant to manage telecom needs. It's actually a very useful took for the mobile professional who ranges far and wide. At one point during the demonstration, the founder was showing a call spoofing technique and said to me, "We make prank calling really easy." That one's gem for the not-schooled-to-talk-to-media record books.

Clear's management team gave me a great overview on how the company is doing. With a new round of funding in the bank, it is moving forward full steam. Perhaps the most interesting nugget of knowledge that came out of the entire meeting was something the CTO told me. He said, "We have hundreds of thousands of customers." At first thought, that might sound great, but that's not so great in my book. Clear has been pitching WiMax hard in test markets for a year now. It also launched service across 27 different markets during 2009. It covers some 30 million Americans. That it has only been able to scare up a couple hundred thousand customers in all that time is disconcerting at the least.

In my fireside chat with Brooke Shields (OK,the fireplace was fake, but still...), Ms. Shields harshed on AT&T and the iPhone when she said, "The phone was a big problem, though. My time is limited, and when I have a few moments to call my kids, I don't want the call to drop. That's what happened with the iPhone." Celebrity hate is always painful.

One of my favorite moments was a weird briefing with Motorola. During the course of the interview, my colleague and I asked a series of questions. Every single one (that mattered) was met with the following. "We have announced anything on that yet." After failing to answer any of our questions, the Motorola rep felt bad, and said, "Maybe I should offer you something. Would you like some coffee? We don't have any. What about Starbucks? Oh, I'd like some Starbucks." Um. Yeah. Thanks.

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