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A View from the CTIA show in Las Vegas: “Mobiletainment a Winning Bet in a Wireless Future!
by Roman Kikta    Fri, Apr 21, 2006, 12:54 PM

nokia 770.jpgAs a long time participant at wireless conferences & tradeshows, I look forward each year to attending the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) annual conference and exhibition which was held in Las Vegas April 5-7. This is the U.S.’s most significant show for the cell phone industry, attended by some 50,000 participants. CTIA is the venue where the latest handsets and various gadgets the wireless technology world has to offer are launched. The central theme of this year’s showcase is “Mobiletainment”, entertainment, focusing on content & applications to the mobile device. This “mobiletainment” has evolved from photography, camera and ringtones, to include mobile TV, music player, gaming and more.

While many of the manufacturers introduced their new “smart”, “camera”, “music” phones at CES (the Consumer Electronic Show) back in January, the CTIA did have notable unveilings, which included: Disney’s introduction of a “kids” and family product lines and service. What’s interesting about Disney Mobile is that they’re a new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) running on Sprint's network, designed for the whole family. The Disney Mobile plan permits parents to set when the phone is used and which numbers it can call, determine spending allowances for both calls and messages, and can even locate their kids with GPS capabilities, and send family messages. The controls can be set through an online interface or on their child's handset. To top it off, the handsets feature access to Disney content and a Disney-designed interface. The service will launch in June.

Moving from the “kids” market to “grandparents”, GreatCall introduced a product called the Jitterbug” a company formed to offer simplified cellphone service for elderly users. It should be noted that Great Call is a company founded by Martin Cooper, who credited as the inventor of the portable cellphone while at Motorola in 1973.

Other interesting devices included, the HTC Foreseer, a Windows Mobile Smartphone optimized for TV viewing. The product is designed to display live TV, broadcast over the DVB-H network (1.6 GHz radio frequency band). While Motorola continues to capitalize in its success with the Razr by introducing new variations, designed for video & other rich media content, also launched the “Q” the first Windows Mobile device designed to compete with the Blackberry. While Samsung had a pretty impressive array of ultra-sleek, multimedia phones on display including such as the Samsung SGH-T709 and T719 models plus some cutting-edge Korean and European models that aren’t in stores yet, including a 10 mega-pixel camera phone! While Sony Ericsson pulled out a couple of new Walkman phone models, the W800i and W600i (which are much better that the MP3 phones).

Industry leader Nokia introduced a couple of new, impressive and stylish handsets such as the Nokia 6126, a high-end GSM world phone that offers a slew of multimedia capabilities (1.3-megapixel camera with 8X zoom, MP3/AAC/WMA music player, and streaming video and audio) in a sleek flip design. Its 262,000-color external screen and 2.2-inch, 16.7-million-true-color QVGA display are sure to catch your eye.

So what was my favorite? --- The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet optimized for broadband access over WI-FI. The Nokia 770 is a handheld computer, weighing a mere 8.1 ounces with dimensions of: 5.5 inches x 3.1 inches x 0.70 inch, packaged in a fashionably discrete brushed metal cover, and an ultra sharp widescreen display . This is a computer that you can place into your shirt pocket and you can browse your favorite sites, stream files, tune in to Internet radio, News Reader, or play your favorite videos and music, or catch up on your email – while sipping your tall vanilla latte at your favorite Starbucks.

All in all, the CTIA show is the wireless industry’s most significant showcase, and it did not disappoint. Judging from some of the new models, it may be time to upgrade what’s in your pocket!

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