It's a wrap! CTIA fall 2007 is officially over. As the wireless world flees San Francisco today, we bring the highlights of the show.
Though new product announcements were relatively few, we did see a handful of new smart phones. Bonnie Cha blogged about the new Samsung Blackjack II for AT&T and displayed it in all is glory in a video. She also covered the new smart phones form I-mate in a blog and in a video and she wrapped up all the glorious new smart phones in a slide show.
Nicole Lee showed us concept phones … Read more
Talkster has been getting some buzz from fellow CTIA-goers. The new international dialing service is offering free global calls in exchange to listening to a few ads. The VoIP-based, phone-centered service feels like the perfect Skype (download) and Pincity mashup. It's free like Skype, and also relies on a VoIP backbone, but like Pincity, Talkster makes use of local numbers to initiate mobile and landline calls.
It sure sounds irresistible, and I've read a few glowing reviews, but in actuality it's a bit tricky. Talkster members enter their number and the number they're calling, and Talkster assigns a new, local number for callers on each end of the line. Say what?
If I want to call my sister in England, I enter both our phone numbers and receive a third number in my 415 area code. That's my permanent number for the phone number I just entered. My sister will get a number for me too. If I want to catch her at home, work, and on her cell phone for free, I'll need to enter each phone number and get three separate Talkster lines.
It wouldn't be so confusing if that were all, but of course it's not. Initiating a call isn't merely the result of dialing one of my Talkster-issued local numbers. There's an order to the calling system. Let's say I initiate the call to my darling sib using a Talkster phone number. I dial the appointed number in my area code and she picks up. But we can't talk yet. She first has to hang up while I stay on the line. My sister then quickly locates her local number, and while Talkster servers do some speedy math to connect our loose ends together, we both listen to an ad. Or that's the plan as soon as Talkster's ad deals are in place.… Read more
David Goldfarb's phone won't stop ringing.
The Vringo CTO is giving me a demo of Vringo's video ringtone service, now in public beta, to demonstrate how users can assign phone-formatted video clips as their outgoing ringtones. David has chosen a humorous singing cartoon of a green bear as his video calling card. He's set it up so that any phone he calls with a Vringo client will light up with his chosen video. If so desired, he could limit the output to his wife and send everyone else a much more sober video to announce his call.
Vringo reverses the conventional ringtone concept of users choosing songs to differentiate between contacts, entertain themselves with favorite songs, or make a stylistic statement. Here individuals control how they're perceived by friends, and can use "vringos" as a gift or personalized greeting. Users can upload their own clips on Vringo.com or record clips from within the Vringo phone app. It's easy to see how users could create happy birthday messages or video gifts.… Read more
Thumb open an ordinary flip or slide phone and nothing happens, except maybe the triggering of a robotic greeting (Hello to you, too, Moto.) Do it again with a phone enriched with Emdigo's 3D offering and football players might rush by.
The carrier-partnered content distributor isn't one I'd normally cover, but the offering is an example of compelling 3D software coming our way. Similar third-party, carrier-agnostic downloads are sure to follow.
NFL Team Tailgate and Hello Kitty are two such examples of these enhanced animated skins that users can purchase through Verizon and Alltel. Flipping or sliding … Read more
The only things you need to send a Facebook photo to any cell phone is 3Guppies' (review) Facebook app and a working US or Canadian phone number. The app does a curious thing, pulling up all the photos in your friends' albums as well as your own. Grabbing the photo previews it in a mobile screen frame, though you needn't worry too much about it fitting--3Guppies Mobile automatically scales photos on the destination phone.
You can crop, title, and tag the image and choose to store a copy in the 3Guppies locker for later reference if you have or sign up for an account. Once the photo has landed on the phone, it can be downloaded or sent on its way to sunnier pastures. 3Guppies has hustled behind the scenes, striking compatibility deals with 28 carriers for 1,200 phones in North America.… Read more
The only things you need to send a Facebook photo to any cell phone are 3Guppies' (review) Facebook app and a working U.S. or Canadian phone number. The app does a curious thing, pulling up all the photos in your friends' albums as well as your own. Grabbing the photo previews it in a mobile screen frame, though you needn't worry too much about it fitting--3Guppies Mobile automatically scales photos on the destination phone.
You can crop, title, and tag the image and choose to store a copy in the 3Guppies locker for later reference if you … Read more
Cellfire is smart. The free mobile coupons company knows three things it needs to entice users to use its digital chits instead of stuffing paper cutouts into wallets, purses, and pockets.
1. Provide multiple ways to get the product. Cellfire is a downloadable PC-to-mobile app for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, but it also offloads into the phone via WAP (point browsers to www.cellfire.com/) and through some carrier agreements.
2. Offer compelling brands. In addition to dozens of national chains, like TGIF and 1.800.Flowers, Cellfire's service gets local, offering discounts for hundreds of neighborhood merchants … Read more
Conference-goers flocked around the Guitar Hero station at Motorola's mammoth tent on the CTIA Wireless conference floor, but it was Hands-On Mobile's modest booth where Guitar Hero Mobile is best experienced. There the game's product manager, JJ Leichleiter, walked me through the mobile version of the popular console game.
Let me dispel all doubt by assuring you that this is the real thing, deputized by Activision, Guitar Hero's console publisher. Loosely based on Guitar Hero 3, the 3D mobile version offers two characters (Axel Steel and Judy Nails), four guitars, and 15 songs. Subscription holders will … Read more
Second Life may have nudged its Grid onto the mobile screen, but it's Gemini's EXplo platform for enabling mini virtual worlds that earned a spot on Deloitte's Wireless Fast 50 list at the CTIA Wireless conference (coverage).
In S'town, a game built on the EXplo platform, users can chat on screen, buy products, stare at advertising billboards, and meet up with online friends, even whooshing to a meeting point on the other end of the expansive world. That's in Japan, where impressive phones on the Softbank network are already attracting a demographic of "young, … Read more