Hot mobile app trends out of CTIA

The hottest software trends to come out of CTIA 2009: online content management, integrated communications, and mobile VoIP calling.

Some important and interesting trends in mobile software came out of CTIA 2009. At the center are online content management, integrated communications, and mobile VoIP calling.

Remote management

RocketVox logo

On the all-in-one mobile in-box front, Skydeck and RocketVox introduced variations on the theme of the online in-box where you can manage and store some combination of text messages, visual voice mail (transcribed voice-to-text), VoIP, and an address book. The free soon-to-be Google Voice will be the service to beat, or to at least outwit as this area develops.

Microsoft also showed the beginnings of its online MyPhone Mobile backup and syncing service, in beta. Voice mail isn't yet part of the plan, but contacts, calendars, tasks, photos, and document back-up and management will be.

Sharpcast launched a refurbished remote access application for BlackBerry phones. SugarSync for BlackBerry now lets you open, edit, and save documents if you have office software. The previous version worked with photo viewing only.


Emoze logo

On the visual voice-mail-only side of the spectrum, YouMail was showing its rich management applications for BlackBerry and iPhone (yet to be released). Movius, which sells solutions to carriers, was displaying a low-tech method for owners of mass market feature phones like the Motorola RAZR to receive an SMS with the name of the contact that left a voice mail, and a callback number to dial.

Emoze peddled its straight-to-consumer application for Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Java phones that pushes text and rich format, HTML e-mail to cell phones, compressing messages at 80 percent. For lower end Java phones in particular, this freemium app focuses on boosting a basic phone's feature set without draining battery life or tying up the phone.

3Deep's application is a cross between some of the apps shown. It mashes up advanced GPS-driven location awareness with a social address book. One result is a feature that tells you when your buddy has gotten off the phone, so you can call them free and clear.

VoIP calling

Skype logo

Of course, there was news from the Luxembourg-based VoIP powerhouse about Skype for iPhone and news of Skype for BlackBerry. Yet aggressive competitor Truphone also introduced monthly flat rate VoIP calling plans to landlines and mobile phones. TruUnlimited calls out to landlines in 38 countries for under $15 a month, or 10 pounds Sterling, while TruUnlimited mobile offers unlimited calling to 68 countries on both mobile phones and landlines for about $40 a month, or 25 British pounds.

In 2009 we can definitely expect to see more on these themes, plus the ever-emerging mobile application stores and the ever-heated browser wars, especially between Opera's browsers, which the company is working hard to get preloaded onto phones, and Firefox, which is working on getting off the ground. Competition will come from a new Internet Explorer Mobile, Skyfire, and from other upstarts like Bolt mobile browser.

Correction: Skype's headquarters corrected on April 3, 2009 at 2:40 p.m. PT.

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