It’s funny–my first CTIA conference I went to in the mid-1990′s had kind of a start-up feel to it. There weren’t a lot of big name companies there, not in the way we know the Nokias or Motorolas of today.There were quite a few industry exhibitors with speacilized products–cable seals or cellsite shelters, that you would expect at any industry show. And this year, more than 15 years after my first conference, felt the same way.
The big names that are normally associated with the show, at least for handset–RIM, Nokia, Motorola, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung–were barely present. No booths, just side meetings with no executive attendance. The ones with the bigger booths, like HTC or ZTE are growing, but are not yet household names. Even more interesting were these device platform companies like Plum, Unnecto or NYS Mobile–that had the biggest booths highlighting generic devices. Are these the next big names in the industry?
There wasn’t much news going on, so that disappoints some, but there were lots of good meetings and innovative technologies. A couple focused on the enterprise included the launch of Ericsson’s LTE “Office In A Box” called ECW. Basically a wireless router with every type of technology (less WiMAX) and PBX functionality to support voice and data for small offices, all over a wireless link. I also like Wave Connections IP-based PTT services on Android and iOS platforms. They even offer five free licenses so good for family use too.
As for the big speeches, there was the usualy carrier session with the top four CEOs. It didn’t start with a big crowd, but eventually filled up.
It was billed as a Q&A with Jim Kramer from CNBC, but out of a 90 minute session, that was only about 25 minutes. The rest was the usually grandstanding on how great wireless is, how more spectrum is need etc. As someone put it, if preaching to the choir was illegal at CTIA, they’d all be in jail!
Finally, on the fun side, I ran into these two guys of Glider Gloves that may have perfected the winter glove that can be used on all these touchscreen devices. I got a pair from a competitor last year and they stunk. I could barely use them to open an app, they were cold and after one season were falling apart. These gloves I tried out were thick, so felt warm, but I was even able to text with them! Well worth checking out if you live in a cold area. Leave it to some guys from Toronto to get winter clothes right!