As CTIA 2009 closes, so does the busy cell phone trade show season that began three months ago at CES. And now that the CNET crew has left Las Vegas for San Francisco and New York City, we've had a chance to reflect on what CTIA gave us. I'll describe the highlights in detail below, but be sure to check out our CTIA videos and CTIA photo galleries. We also picked our favorite products for the Best of CTIA.
A snoozer of a show Though there were plenty of new phones to handle, CTIA was rather quiet. Sure, the torpid economy is a likely culprit, but CTIA has a bigger strike against it. Since it follows the two much bigger blowouts of CES and the GSMA World Congress, CTIA just can't offer the same level of news.
It's not really CTIA's fault--after all, a U.S.-focused show can't be expected to compete with global events--but I'm not the first to suggest that CTIA should switch its schedule to later in the year. But as I said, there was plenty to report.
Getting the message If there was one theme at CTIA 2009, it was the messaging phone. A total of five new models made their first appearance in Las Vegas, with Samsung and AT&T leading the way.
On the Monday before the show, Sammy and AT&T unveiled the Samsung Impression and the Samsung Magnet. Both offer full QWERTY keyboards on a different theme. While the Magnet offers minimal features and a simple design, the Impression has a comfortable slider design, a brilliant display, and mid-range multimedia. It made such an impression on us that we picked it as our top phone of the show. … Read more
However, Samsung Mobile's executive vice president of global product strategy, Won-Pyo Hong, was feeling a little more chatty and revealed some new details in a conversation with Forbes.
While Hong didn't get any more specific about release dates, he did say the United States will get two smartphones using Google's mobile operating system later this year and that they will be … Read more
Correction 5:15 p.m. PDT: This story initially misstated the author of the letter where quoted. It is the Free Press.
An advocacy group on Friday called on the Federal Communications Commission to require wireless carriers to allow consumers access to Skype via smartphones, as well as the ability to connect their devices to the Internet through tethering applications on their cell phones.
The Free Press, in a letter to acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps, expressed concern that wireless carriers were not abiding by the FCC's Internet Policy Statement.
Earlier this week, eBay's Skype made a VoIP … Read more
As CTIA comes to a close, we pause to select the best products from the show. The scene in Las Vegas was much quieter than in past years, and it lacked any high-profile announcements like the Palm Pre. But, there were a few products that deserve recognition as the Cream of the Crop from CTIA 2009.
Best phone: Samsung Impression
For the third year in a row, Samsung takes the title of the best phone in CTIA. While the Samsung Impression can't quite compete with the hype of last year's Instinct or 2007's Upstage, it is the most practical of the three. And in a year where messaging phones were all the rage, it stands out in a crowded field as the one of the best-designed messaging phones we've seen in a while.
The keyboard is spacious and tactile, and while the handset isn't quite sexy, it has a pleasant, minimalist shape that feels nice in the hand. Yet the Impression's biggest draw is its gorgeous active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display. As Samsung promised, the display is positively brilliant with bright colors and vibrant graphics. Features are decent, even if they're not groundbreaking.
Inside you'll find a 3-megapixel camera, a full HTML browser, Bluetooth, Samsung's TouchWiz interface, 3G support with access to Cellular Video and AT&T Music, a personal organizer, AT&T Navigator, and a speakerphone. No, that won't knock your socks off; in fact, you might even see it as somewhat boring. But as we said before, the Impression's story is more about functional features and an intuitive design rather than flash and glam. And at a very quiet show, it deserves its prize. The Impression will be out soon with AT&T; we should have a review shortly.
Best smartphone: HTC Snap
Aside from rising importance of applications, the other theme of CTIA 2009 was messaging. We saw a slew of new messaging devices debut at the show, and it extended to smartphones. While the Nokia E71x and Samsung Propel Pro were nice additions to AT&T's lineup, the HTC Snap stood out for its Inner Circle feature.
With a simple press of a button, Inner Circle brings e-mails from a preselected group of people to the top of your in-box so you can read and reply to them immediately. The capability isn't the wave of the future, but it does help prioritize your e-mails based on your preferences.
In addition, HTC, once again did a nice job on the design. The Snap is a beautifully constructed and sleek smartphone. The QWERTY keyboard also features good-size buttons for easy messaging. Finally, don't be fooled by its diminutive size, as it's packed with features, including Windows Mobile 6.1, push e-mail, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and a 2-megapixel camera. We look forward to checking out the U.S. version of the Snap, the HTC S522, when it's released in the summer. … Read more
Nokia Messaging is a free, downloadable application that lets you access up to 10 personal e-mail accounts on a Nokia device, all of which organized under a single icon. The app also supports Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL Mail, among others.
In addition, the Hotmail integration, the company also said it will add Nokia Messaging support to the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic starting in May. Currently, the app is available on 20 Nokia models … Read more
DataViz announced on Thursday that it is now offering Documents to Go Standard Edition version 1.0 and a beta version of RoadSync through the Android Market. The two applications will give T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic owners the capability, for the first time, to work with Microsoft Office documents and get support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.
Documents to Go has long been available for Windows Mobile and Palm devices, but now Android users can finally have the capability of viewing, editing, and creating Word and Excel documents through the productivity suite. The suite's editing capabilities are vast, including … Read more
Update at 2:09 p.m. PDT, with additional information from earnings report.
Research In Motion on Thursday posted a stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter, with revenue climbing 84 percent over the same period a year ago.
RIM, the maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphones, reported revenue of $3.46 billion, up from $1.88 billion a year ago. Wall Street had expected the company to report $3.4 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Financial.
Net income jumped nearly 26 percent to $518.3 million, or 90 cents a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter, compared with $412.5 million, … Read more
The first bit of news actually came out of the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco where Palm announced that it's ready to release the Mojo SDK to developers so they can create apps for the Pre and Palm WebOS.
Back here in Las Vegas, Sprint and Palm hosted a VIP Lounge where invitees could kick back and check out the Pre in a … Read more
However, I wandered over to the LG booth myself (actually, I crashed Nicole's one-on-one meeting), because I wanted to find out what the company's plans are for bringing more smartphones to the United States.
As you might remember, LG announced at GSMA 2009 that it has committed to the Windows Mobile operating system for its smartphones, intends to increase the number of Windows phones available in … Read more