CTIA, the twice-annual U.S. wireless industry gathering, has its Spring Fling this week in Orlando, FL. Only a few years ago all of the big cell phone carriers and phone makers waited for CTIA Spring and Fall to launch their biggest products of the year. Things are different now, what with Apple having made it cool to skip trade shows and host your own launch parties, other companies have begun following this trend. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see some big products and big stories coming out of The Land of Disney this week. Here are 10 things to look for from CTIA:
1. Sprint’s Big Day
While Sprint’s massive launch may be overshadowed by #2 below, we’re still going to see some hot new gear from Sprint this week, most of which will be launched at the carrier’s massive 2-1/2 hour press event Tuesday afternoon. Look for:
- HTC EVO 3D: 3D-capable sequel to the EVO 4G smartphone
- Samsung Nexus S 4G: WiMax version of the Nexus S “with Google” smartphone
- HTC EVO View: Sprint’s version of the Flyer 7-inch tablet launched at MWC (Mobile World Congress) in February
- Motorola Xoom: Sprint’s WiMax version of the 10-inch tablet
2. AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Buzz
The big story in mobile right now is AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile. While this deal is subject to Federal approval and will likely take up to a full year to go through – or be denied by the government – it’s hugely important already. Look for lots of chatter, rumors, and industry reaction coming out of CTIA this week. I’ll have my own reactions to the deal up on the site later today.
3. Sprint and Google, Sitting in a Tree
Coincidence or not, just as Google’s go-to launch partner for innovative Android devices in the US gets snapped up by a notoriously inflexible carrier, a bevy of new Android hardware and services launches all at once on a different carrier. T-Mobile launched the G1, G2, Nexus One, and Nexus S, but they’ve been bought by AT&T, whose better known for screwing up Android phones than promoting them. Will Google now get cozier with Sprint? Sprint’s CTIA-week launches of Nexus S 4G and system-wide Google Voice integration say they might.
4. More 3D
Personally I hope this trend towards 3D phones and tablets is short-lived. Based on what I saw at Mobile World Congress, 3D mobile devices are gimmicky at best and motion sickness-inducing at worst. Still, it looks like we’ll see new 3D gear from HTC (Evo 3D) and LG (Thrill 4G) as well as the official US debut of the LG G-Slate tablet, all of which sport 3D-capable cameras and some form of 3D displays.
5. 4G and Tablets
The hot topics in US wireless land right now are 4G and tablets. Likely they’ll remain hot for most of this year. Google’s Android partners started the year out strong with the first wave of Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” tablets and a handful of 4G-ready Android phones. RIM also showed off its Playbook at CES, while HP unveiled the webOS TouchPad in San Francisco and HTC launched their Flyer tablet in Barcelona. Apple countered with iPad 2. Meantime we’ve seen Verizon’s LTE network blow the doors off of its 4G competition in speed tests. Expect the war to rage on, on both the 4G and tablet fronts, this week in Orlando.
What big announcements are you looking forward to from the CTIA show?