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Wireless Hype at CTIA

Trade shows have lost their mojo in the last few years to the point that very few matter. Being seen just to be seen no longer is worth the $20,000 minimum investment. The calendar used to include an almost weekly smorsgasbord of festivals, including Comdex (from the Mesozoic era) Internet World, etc. Now there are very few; companies can’t afford to have their executives and sales people but of the office schmoozing their competitors and partners, and with the rise of social media, the laborious meet and greet and lavish booth is going the way of the daily newspaper. 

But some do still matter or else Las Vegas would cease to exist. One of the remaining ones that matter is CTIA Wireless, the annual gathering of all things hip and mobile in which began today in Vegas. With mobile technology about the only bright spot in the technology industry, meaningful news is expected this week.

Based on recent developments in the industry, CW predicts that the news from the show could include:

•    Tier two mobile handset manufacturer launches device that has .003% more capabilities than the iPhone or enough to get positive reviews but no prediction of commercial success.

•    The next killer mobile application, based on GPS, launches to an initial big buzz followed almost immediately by privacy concerns. Of course, everyone forgets that people walk around everyday with
their life’s information stored in their phone so privacy has ceased to be a big issue, no matter what Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes claims.

•    The latest 4G network equipment and devices hit the market, despite the fact that most of us still are accessing 2G networks with our phones, meaning we can barely get the Yankee score on     ESPN.com from two innings ago.

•    Leading analyst firm reports that smart phone sales continue to out perform laptop and PC sales but are not accelerating as fast as previous quarters. Stock prices for cell phone manufacturers tank   and rise at the same time.

As someone who has worked in the mobile industry for years, the hype always leads reality by three years or more; we are almost at the point where, as one client predicted in 2000, we will all be reading Forbes.com on our cell phones while bidding for a Chevy Chase Pez dispenser on eBay. It really is a Brave New World.

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Merrill Freund

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