CTIA: The Trailer

I’m getting ready to hit Sin City for next week’s CTIA Wireless show, from April 1-3, so for those of you not planning to attend — or who will attend but plan to gamble away your expense money — here’s your cheat sheet for the show.

Sure, everyone will be hoping for an announcement about the $3 billion Sprint/Cable/Clearwire joint venture that Om has dubbed the U.S. Rescue WiMax Act, and pondering both the valuation of and chances for Motorola’s handset business, but there will be a few trends to keep an eye out for as well.


Speech recognition and voice navigation on the mobile phone will be hot topics, with news expected out of vendors both big and small. An early indicator is voice mail-to-text provider SpinVox’s $100 million financing round. Look for other startups to launch similar services at the show, and for new search features and products from existing market players.

You won’t be able to walk down the aisle without running into someone offering a better way to watch, stream or create content on a mobile phone. While I’m skeptical about mobile video in the U.S., plenty of companies are still beating that drum. And with mobile content travel its two ugly stepsisters, advertising and digital rights management. There will be plenty of plays there.

All that content needs bandwidth, and the equipment vendors will be out in force with their WiMax and LTE equipment. Brace yourself for impressive upload and downlink demos as well as new service offerings such as television over a WiMax network.

In the meantime, now that the 700 MHz spectrum auction has ended and Verizon has laid out its plans, people are sure to be debating the benefits of open networks.

And finally, a 2008 wireless show wouldn’t be complete without plenty of femtocell demos and the much-anticipated launch of an Android-based phone. I, along with hundreds of other journalists, will be there, hoping to score the next big scoop. So if you see me, feel free to say hello and gently point me in the right direction.

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