The fall CTIA show in San Francisco is billed as an enterprise and application conference although we found lots of interesting products and news for the mobile phone enthusiast. Here's our report:
Showstoppers is what they call a press-only, tabletop showcase where lots of cool new products are usually on display. A few of them caught our eye.
Start Talking is a new hands free service that claims to be the only “truly” eyes and hands free messaging application. Start Talking looks like a good way to send and receive email and text messages (among other things) without having to take your hands off the wheel.
NAVTEQ, the company that supplies a lot of the industry’s map info thinks it has invented a friendlier way to offer directions. Instead of the usual dry "right turn in two tenths of a mile," the new NAVTEQ systems offers instructions like "turn right just before the yellow building." It looks like a nice alternative and potentially less stressful way to get where you're going.
F-Secure, a Finish company was showing an anti-virus service for Android phones. We've been wondering how long it will be before some government employee downloads an Android app that sends sensitive information somewhere it shouldn’t be going. With the rising popularity of Android phones it's just a matter of time before the malware developers consider it worth their while to create an evil app. My friend, David Spark who was at Showstoppers said he uses Lookout on his Android phone.
After Showstoppers Harry McCracken of Technologizer and I wandered over to check out Twonky which helps make DLNA devices work better. We suspect many people are not familiar with what DLNA does even though it's been around for a while and has been heavily promoted by Samsung as Allshare. The Digital Living Network Association maintains a standard that makes it possible for devices to move data around letting you show a movie that's on your laptop show up on your TV or smartphone. In my opinion it's a very under-utilized technology. Twonky has been in business for 6 years providing the technology that makes things like NAS devices work better. Consumers can benefit from Twonky's DLNA expertise by downloading their Twonky apps. You should try it sometime, it's very cool.
News from the Show The big news for mobile phone owners was the announcement from Verizon that 4G LTE will be available in 38 cities including San Francisco and 60 airports before the end of the year (hey that's only a few months from now). Verizon's network should be safe from crashing at first because it looks like there won't be any devices to use on it until early 2011. Verizon says expect to see about a half dozen smartphones and tablets on display at CES. They also say you should expect to pay an additional $10 - $15 a month but for 5x speed improvement over EVDO, it might be worth it. Sprint is also busily rolling out WiMAX across the country and also charges a $10 premium for 4G.
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