The mobile phone trade show, CTIA is under way in New Orleans as we write this and we have to admit it appears to be a bit of a snoozer. First of all a lot of the big players are conspicuously absent. Of course, Apple never goes to any trade shows any more but none of the big phone manufacturers have press conferences scheduled and Microsoft doesn't even have a booth.
MasterCard and Visa are Promoting NFC
NFC or Near Field Communication is the technology behind contactless payments or mobile wallets. MasterCard is using CTIA to present new mobile wallet services under the "PayPass" brand. Paypass readers can be found in many stores like Whole Foods where you can use it just like a credit card. Visa showcased their version of "mobile banking" with their V.me service which works similarly to PayPass. Mobile wallets have been the next big thing for a little while now and there are several big players and consortiums hoping to be the provider of mobile wallet services. Many new Android phones like the new Samsung Galaxy S III are NFC-equipped. The big question in our minds in whether or not Apple will integrate NFC in a future iPhone?
Some New Phones Too
With this CTIA show following so close on the heels of Mobile World Congress it's no surprise that some of the big name manufacturers didn't have much new in the way of smartphones to announce. On the other hand there were some new phones from vendors like Virgin Mobile and Kyocera. Kyocera announced two new Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) phones; the Hydro which is water resistant and the Rise which has a full QWERTY keyboard. Meanwhile Virgin Mobile is offering a rebranded version of the HTC Evo V 4G.
And, Of Course the New Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung was showing off their latest version of the Galaxy S which one review commented that it looked like a phone designed by lawyers (to appease Apple's lawyers). The Galazy S III has a huge 4.8-inch display, a Siri-like voice command feature, a cool new feature that detects your face so the screen doesn't automatically dim when you're looking at it and other cool features that should help it maintain its status as one of the more legitimate Apple iPhone alternatives.
Nice Looking New Tablet from Toshiba
Toshiba showed off their new 13-inch Excite tablet which runs Android 4.0 (ICS), has a Gorilla Glass front and aluminum back, and high resolution display. Toshiba plans to begin offering it this summer.