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When You Wish Upon a SmartPhone

Oh, yeah, and then there's Disney World.
Welcome to central Florida, a region of completely artificial consumer attractions charging way-outrageous prices to customers satisfying needs and desires they didn't know they had.

Oh, yeah, and then there's Disney World.This isn't to compare the marvels on display at CTIA Wireless 2007, the big wireless convention that starts here tomorrow, with the amusement-park gimcrackery available at the local tourist traps. But let's just say that, inevitably, some of the gadgets and "solutions" that will be touted at the Orange County Convention Center over the next three days would not be out of place in Goofy's mitts during last night's parade at the Magic Kingdom. (The theme of the nightly fireworks extravaganza in Mouse-land right now is "Wishes," which fits well the business plan of about three-quarters of the companies exhibiting at CTIA this year.)

I spent the morning at the SmartPhone Summit, a sort of pre-convention conference that annually brings together the major mobile-device makers to josh with each other and pitch their wares. Sparked by the success of the Razr, from Motorola, RIM's stylish Pearl, and of course the ballyhooed iPhone, the device market has been supernova-hot the last several months, and I lost count of the new devices touted at the "Smartphone Enterprise Devices" segment of the program, which had no fewer than seven companies represented. The crowd on the dais looked like the winners' podium after the Super Bowl, except no one was wearing a crooked baseball cap.

Todd Achilles of HTC, the Taiwanese vendor that makes phones both for carriers' lines and under its own brand, had five different phones to debut, with designs ranging from traditional flip-phone to a sliding model with a tilt-up screen. Some of these seemed to be renamed versions of previous models, but such is the stream of "new, innovative, and game-changing" devices out of Taiwan and South Korea these days that I really couldn't say.

After spending the afternoon and evening at Disney World on Sunday, I was expecting him to start juggling them, maybe while playing the drums with his feet and tootling a trumpet at the same time. No such luck.