Spring is in the air and here at CNET we turn to thoughts of cell phones. Every year in early spring the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) throws its premier cell phone trade show of the year. As the biggest (and we mean big) mobile gathering in the United States the CTIA show bursts at the seams with the latest and greatest in cell phones, smart phones, accessories, and services. And this year CTIA returns to the South with a show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, March 27-29. I'll be there along with CNET editors Bonnie Cha and Nicole Lee to scour the show floor for the latest trends in the cellular world. So be sure to check back starting March 26 for full coverage with slide shows, videos, blogs, and reviews. Mickey Mouse won't be there, though ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush are scheduled to drop by.
Though Apple's iPhone won't be showing at CTIA, music cell phones will be a big theme in Orlando. In fact, the music focus may even outweigh a push for higher-resolution camera phones. We expect to see new music phones from Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, and Nokia and a much welcome proliferation of handsets with stereo Bluetooth. Also, that Sprint will at long last pick up a U.S. version of the Samsung Ultra Music, which we first saw two months ago at CES. Sprint is mum on the issue, so stay tuned as we find out more. And though it's not strictly music, we also should see Verizon Wireless roll out its other V Cast TV phone, the .
Looks do matter
On the design side, thin continues to be in over two years after the
While we'll definitely have our eye on such cell phone stalwarts as Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola we'll also be looking for phones from new and original players in the U.S. cell phone landscape. Pantech should have a gallery of new models, while telecomm giant Alcatel is arriving in Orlando ready to plant a footprint in North America. The company is partnering with a company called Cellatel to manufacture a broad line of low-end and mid-range candybar handsets.
Smart phones: the next generation
According to IT research firm Gartner, smart phone sales increased by a whopping 75.5 percent in 2006 and we're not in the least bit surprised. The year saw the arrival of a wide range of hot models, such as the
With the release of the