Every person I spoke with at CTIA Wireless this week in Orlando, Fla., was disappointed with the show. The reasons varied from person to person, but the overall lack of enthusiasm was felt across the board. Foot traffic seemed slow on the show floor all three days, and there was simply no industry-changing announcements made. Is the pace of innovation slowing?On the contrary, the wireless industry is evolving so quickly it's nearly impossible to keep up. But this show in particular, the CTIA Wireless spring show, which is THE show for the industry, did not reflect the on-going path to wireless nirvana. There was no buzz. No excitement. Nothing kept the press room all atwitter. Us journos were all quietly filing stories in the press room, when we're often loudly debating what was the coolest thing at the show. Not this year.
Sure, there was a flurry of new mid-tier consumer phones announced, yes some compelling new consumer music and video services were unveiled, and yes, the capabilities of those devices continues to increase on an almost daily basis. This is all evolutionary stuff, though, not revolutionary.
The carriers themselves were relatively quiet. Aside from the handset announcements, and updates and upgrades to existing services, nothing revolutionary come out at the show. Even the keynote was shot down as a snooze-fest, with last-minute replacement speaker RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis speaking about new applications that are compatible with RIM's platform, rather than any new innovations at RIM.
No new word came to light on the potential sale of Palm. Palm's spokespeople flatly denied any sales rumors, though they did mention that they are hard at work on the next great device. Who knows when we'll see that.
Nokia announced no new devices for the US at all, though its new strategy for North America was encouraging to hear about.
All the other usual enterprise suspects were quiet.
Even the parties were a bit of a letdown. I heard the Foo Fighters' show was insane, but Ludacris failed to impress anyone with his 40-minute set at a Sprint party. The party-goers themselves were a muted bunch. The handful of journalists I attended the show with didn't even talk shop, that's how little there was to talk about.
It's going to be a long six months before the trade show season resumes in the fall...