This year's annual mobile industry gathering saw more 4G phones, more handsets, and a little bit more focus on the enterprise. Our Full Nelson columnist dials in his take on the new gear and services.
Ericsson this week declared that mobile data has exceeded mobile voice (probably the combined effect of Jesse James's texts and @ConanOBrien retweets). People who like to predict things say mobile devices will outstrip computers within the next three years. With our phones, we work and we play. At the CTIA wireless conference, held in Las Vegas March 22 through 25, I saw plenty of technology that lets people do both. Let's play first, and in part two, I'll get to the work.
1) HTC EVO 4G on Sprint. This was, simply, the hit of CTIA. I don't know how Sprint does it, but once a year it seems that, despite either dismal subscriber numbers or poor financial performance, or layoffs or whatever, it makes big noise with an exclusive partnership. OK, maybe that's just for the past two years, but in 2009 at CES Sprint teamed up with Palm to launch the Pre, and became the exclusive provider for a short time. This year, it unveiled the first 4G handset, launched exclusively on the Sprint network.
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HTC EVO 4G on Sprint
I swore I wouldn't get sucked into YAP (yet another phone), but one always stands out. Not only does this 1GHz processor Android 2.1 OS smart phone do 4G, but also 3G since WiMax is only in 27 markets (and yet, that's 27 more than LTE). Even better, it can serve as a Wi-Fi hot spot (supporting up to eight devices).
The EVO 4G has an 8-megapixel camera, but it also has 1.3 megapixel camera too (so you're not forced to upload big files), and it records high definition video (720p), which you can stream live with integrated Qik support. It includes HDMI output. Sprint showed off YouTube High Quality mobile, a first for YouTube, and it's exclusive to this phone and to Sprint's offering for now--yet another Sprint coup.
Neither Sprint nor HTC talked about pricing or battery life--the latter is removable, though--but the device is projected to come out later this Summer.
2) LG's enterprise push. LG makes some great refrigerators, and some sexy phones (see Prada), so I was surprised to find an enterprise section in the LG booth. In fact, about six months ago, LG created a division to pursue the enterprise. The unit has a director (Tony Jannsen) and a staff, and a host of partners, including Good Technology, Sybase and Citrix--all enterprise stalwarts, and all involved in helping corporations manage and secure mobile devices, applications and data.
LG is making devices that it thinks are ideal for the Air Force and Army. (Good and RIM are the only two mobile companies that offer security that meets the government's requirements, according to an LG spokesperson.)
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Samsung Galaxy S
3) Samsung Galaxy S. This is another hot phone, running Android 2.1, sporting a 1-GHz processor, multitouch, a 5-megapixel camera, and the ingenious Android SWYPE capability. The latter lets you essentially draw out a word using the keyboard; just watch the Lakers' Lamar Odom on all of the Samsung advertisements during March Madness. The phone's drawback: it's what the industry likes to call a "global" device, which means it isn't available in the United States, and there are no plans for it to be. So why am I telling you?
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