Though it feels like I just got off the plane from Europe and Mobile World Congress--and claimed my broken suitcase, thank you very much, Lufthansa--it's time to board another flight to another cell phone trade show. Next week, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) holds its spring wireless bash in Las Vegas. It's the larger of the industry association's two annual events and we're expecting to be busy chasing news. Though last year's show--check out this retrospective for a look back--was a bit quiet, a few trends are emerging for 2010. The fun begins on Tuesday, March 23, and I'll be there with Bonnie Cha and Nicole Lee from CNET Reviews, Maggie Reardon from CNET News, and Jessica Dolcourt from Download.com.
Though you may have just purchased your first 3G phone, 4G networks are growing and the technology should dominate the show news in Vegas. Speculation is rampant that Sprint, which already has a robust WiMax network, will announce its first 4G-capable devices. The HTC Supersonic should be first on the carrier's list, though Sprint might have additional devices. Things are taking longer on the LTE front, but Samsung is holding an LTE phone showcase on Wednesday morning. And though it's not quite 4G, T-Mobile should make a HSPA+ announcement.
What to expect from CTIA 2010
Android and handsets
After last year's show promised, and then failed, to deliver a slew of Android handsets, we really should see a handful of such phones this year. Certainly that was the case at CES 2010 and at Mobile World Congress, so CTIA shouldn't be any different. Five months ago at the fall CTIA show in San Diego , Kyocera said it would deliver an Android device in 2010. Las Vegas may just be the perfect stage for a debut. If that interests you, then check back for Bonnie's smartphone coverage.
Samsung has promised that it will "unpack" something called "S Life." We're not entirely sure what that could be, but we'll post the news after Sammy's press conference Tuesday morning (the company jumped the gun and dropped two new phones on Monday). As for other manufacturers, Motorola, HTC, Nokia, ZTE and Pantech will be out in force, possibly with new phones. At the moment, however, LG and Sony Ericsson appear to be taking a back seat in Vegas.
AT&T execs Randall Stephenson and Ralph de la Vega will join Samsung exec J.K Shin in a keynote to open the show. Maggie will be there to tell us what goes down and she'll also attend the keynote on Wednesday with bigwigs from Sprint, Clearwire, Deutsche Telekom, and Cisco. And in the middle of it all, Maggie will be tracking the latest broadband spectrum news from the FCC. And, attention "Avatar," fans! Jessica will attend Thursday's keynote where James Cameron will speak with Twitter con-founder Biz Stone and others.
Accessories and services We expect Bluetooth headsets to be better than ever, as noise-reduction technology improves and as consumers demand more features from these not-so-simple accessories. A2DP stereo compatibility will likely be a must-have standard feature, and we expect to see lower prices, as well. Nicole will cover all the news from Bluetooth land. And remember that Verizon-Skype announcement from last month? Well, Skype has scheduled a press conference in Vegas and Jessica will keep us up to date on further developments.
So, as we head into next week, check our CTIA coverage for the latest news, devices, accessories, and services. Come back, and come back often!