Packing For CTIA: What I Expect To See In Orlando - InformationWeek

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3/26/2007
01:22 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Packing For CTIA: What I Expect To See In Orlando

Right now I am heading out the door to CTIA Wireless 2007 in sunny Orlando, Florida (also known as Disneytown, USA and Las Vegas East). As I was packing my belongings, I decided to jot down a list of the wireless news and trends I expect to see down in Orlando.

Right now I am heading out the door to CTIA Wireless 2007 in sunny Orlando, Florida (also known as Disneytown, USA and Las Vegas East). As I was packing my belongings, I decided to jot down a list of the wireless news and trends I expect to see down in Orlando.1. The iPhone Is Still The It Device -- We watched as the iPhone controlled both the buzz and the agenda at 3GSM in Barcelona last month and I predict the iPhone will do the same thing at CTIA. I think that the attendees at CTIA may be more critical of the iPhone than those at 3GSM, if for no other reason than the newness of the device has worn off and wireless industry insiders have had time to work up some good questions.

2. Mobile Video Will Be Big -- At 3GSM, I saw the wireless industry in Europe and Asia try to turn down the mobile video hype just a little. Based on all the pre-show meeting requests that have flooded my e-mail inbox and voicemail, it looks like the industry in Orlando will be pushing mobile video like it is 2005. Maybe Qualcomm has something up its sleeves with MediaFLO, or maybe they know about some advances in battery life and screen size I haven't seen yet.

3. Mobile Business Will Be Hot, But Not Like 3GSM -- While mobile business will be big at CITA, it doesn't look like there will be as much buzz as there was at 3GSM. I think there are several reasons for this. In Europe and Asia, the mobile business market is riding high on strong sales of smartphones. Compared with North America, where the smartphone market is really only now taking off. The second reason is the continued enthusiasm for consumer content in the North American market. Carriers in the U.S. still think mobile video will help them monetize their 3G investments. They haven't started looking elsewhere for other more advanced customers (like businesses looking to deploy GPS).

There was a sense at 3GSM that the rivals to the BlackBerry might be able to win the market before RIM can completely dominate it (tell that the British bankers I saw twitching with their BlackBerry handhelds in the Barcelona airport). In the U.S. there is a sense of opportunity for mobile e-mail, but not as great. I suspect we'll see more enthusiasm for mobile business in the U.S. as the year progresses, especially as cheaper push e-mail solutions go mainstream. If Motorola or Nokia acquires Palm, this could be the catalyst for the North American market.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Orlando. Have a safe trip.

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