Ericsson this week declared that mobile data has exceeded mobile voice (probably the combined effect of Jesse James's texts and @ConanOBrien retweets). People who like to predict things say mobile devices will outstrip computers within the next three years. With our phones, we work and we play. At the CTIA wireless conference, held in Las Vegas March 22 through 25, I saw plenty of technology that lets people do both. Let's play first, and in part two, I'll get to the work.
1) HTC EVO 4G on Sprint. This was, simply, the hit of CTIA. I don't know how Sprint does it, but once a year it seems that, despite either dismal subscriber numbers or poor financial performance, or layoffs or whatever, it makes big noise with an exclusive partnership. OK, maybe that's just for the past two years, but in 2009 at CES Sprint teamed up with Palm to launch the Pre, and became the exclusive provider for a short time. This year, it unveiled the first 4G handset, launched exclusively on the Sprint network.
The EVO 4G has an 8-megapixel camera, but it also has 1.3 megapixel camera too (so you're not forced to upload big files), and it records high definition video (720p), which you can stream live with integrated Qik support. It includes HDMI output. Sprint showed off YouTube High Quality mobile, a first for YouTube, and it's exclusive to this phone and to Sprint's offering for now--yet another Sprint coup.
Neither Sprint nor HTC talked about pricing or battery life--the latter is removable, though--but the device is projected to come out later this Summer.
2) LG's enterprise push. LG makes some great refrigerators, and some sexy phones (see Prada), so I was surprised to find an enterprise section in the LG booth. In fact, about six months ago, LG created a division to pursue the enterprise. The unit has a director (Tony Jannsen) and a staff, and a host of partners, including Good Technology, Sybase and Citrix--all enterprise stalwarts, and all involved in helping corporations manage and secure mobile devices, applications and data.
LG is making devices that it thinks are ideal for the Air Force and Army. (Good and RIM are the only two mobile companies that offer security that meets the government's requirements, according to an LG spokesperson.)
To hear companies like Clearwire and Sprint tell it, all of this will be available with 4G, but having used FloTV for the past four months, the performance and reliability of it is tremendous and convenient. It might be a while before this kind of TV experience hits your carrier's network.
Yahoo's new search app, also on the iPhone, is much smarter about context and relevance, and is voice enabled.
6) New User Interface models. Both Yahoo's Mobile Search and Sketchasearch let you shake the phone to reset a search. I bring this up because it's another interesting evolution in mobile U, along with Samsung's Swipe. I witnessed another example of this when PayPal showed me how it had integrated Bump technology into its new consumer application on the iPhone. If you haven't seen this, Bump lets you tap phones (bump) to exchange information.
For PayPal, you can use this to do things like split a check at a restaurant (maybe one you've reserved using Yahoo's Search App). If you're both using PayPal, you just bump phones after making a split check request, and voila, the money gets transferred to your bank account.
David Garibaldi creates paintings in four minutes, I was told; these sell for up to $70,000; not a bad business model if you think about it), and fresh paintings. I took pictures of the artist with his work. These are all available here.
Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.
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