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What Android might bring us from CTIA

How much Android noise will be coming out of the Big Easy with next week's annual conference? Spoiler alert! Not much.

Next week as wireless fans descend on New Orleans for the annual CTIA Wireless show, we'll get one more peek at how the mobile landscape will unfold over the coming months. Previously held in March, but moved to May for 2012, the three-day event takes a North American focus while including the wireless movers and shakers from around the world.

At previous shows, carriers have pulled back the curtain on high-profile Android smartphones and tablets. In 2010, for example, Sprint announced the HTC Evo 4G and last year we got the slimmed-down Galaxy Tab 10.1. So considering the rapid clip of mobile development, it stands to reason that this year will be no exception, right?

Well, maybe not. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I don't look for too much out of Android when the fun kicks off May 8. In fact, in the four-year history of Android products at CTIA, this may be the least eventful conference yet.

Perhaps it's because of the show's later time frame, but then again Samsung decided to hold a separate press event tomorrow, May 3, to announce what should be the Galaxy S III. Sammy hasn't said why it's holding its own party, though maybe it just didn't want to share the stage.

Whatever the company's reason, I will have to watch the fun from this side of the pond. But that's not to say that there isn't anything to look forward to in The Big Easy.

HTC Droid Incredible 2
Will Verizon unveil a successor to the Droid Incredible 2? Josh Miller/CNET

Big Red
Verizon Wireless may come away with the show's biggest new Android announcement if it gives us the Droid Incredible 4G LTE. As the third release in the series, this model builds on its predecessors with a faster processor, more memory, and support for 4G LTE.

Considering just how fast Verizon is growing its network, last season's edition looks more antiquated by the day. Specifications for the Droid Incredible 4G are said to include a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 1GB RAM, a 4-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel camera, and NFC support. Set to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the smartphone also should feature HTC Sense 4.

Turning to handsets without launch dates, we already know that Sprint plans to offer the HTC EVO 4G LTE at some point in the near future. Recent rumors have tapped the One X variant with a May 18 debut, just one week after CTIA wraps up.

Priced at $199, Sprint's flagship device boasts a 4.7-inch Super LCD screen, dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB storage, and 1GB RAM. I might look for CEO Dan Hesse to announce a shipping date as part of his keynote roundtable on day one of CTIA.

Will any one of these vendors steal the show with an Android announcement? CTIA

Keeping with Sprint, there's a small chance that the carrier will unveil its Motorola Photon 4G successor. Known as the Photon Q 4G LTE, the details for this model are very light. Considering all that we don't know about the handset, however, I suspect the debut could be a few months off.

Back to Samsung
I'm not holding my breath, but I'd love to see Samsung bring the Galaxy S III to New Orleans. My gut tells me that it will, but may keep it behind glass and just out of reach. Much of this will depend, of course, on when Samsung expects to ship the handset.

Since its debut in January, the Galaxy Note has been rumored to be coming to additional carriers. Whereas CTIA would be a great venue for Sprint or T-Mobile to announce support, nothing I've seen lately indicates there will be noise around the subject.

Given that there have not been any major "save the date" e-mails sent out ahead of CTIA this year, I can't imagine any major surprises or announcements. Generally speaking, though, the conference usually acts as a smaller follow-up act to Mobile World Congress and 2012 should be no different.

Even with the later show this year, it's only been two months since we visited Barcelona. Judging by the companies giving keynote addresses at CTIA, I'm guessing that we'll be getting more software, services, and industry trends than products.