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CTIA 2011: Show Stoppers
This year the honor to host a CTIA convention, fortunately, went to Orlando, FL. Why fortunately? Firstly, because I can get there from Miami by car covering 200 miles in just three hours Ц very convenient. Secondly, because I am frankly sick and tired of Las Vegas. I understand that for many readers this sounds like a blasphemy but having visited it two or three times a year for the past decade it just gets stale. On the other hand, the last time Orlando hosted a CTIA convention was back in 2006. Thirdly, even after the prices have plummeted in Las Vegas due to the crisis, Orlando is still more affordable and the per diem I save M-R financial comforts.
As usual the CTIA convention opened with a mini expo for the press called Show Stoppers. The point is Ц the companies chip in to be able to talk to the press vis-a-vis and try to seduce us. Their tools are free food and booze, specially trained showroom employees and a smaller mob around the place than during the convention itself. The press just listens and enjoys the drinks.
So, let's have a look at what I have found noteworthy this year.
Zagg specializes on all kinds of protective cases and a one handy contraption has caught my eye Ц a protective case for iPad made of aluminum that in a single flick transforms intoЕ a robot from space. No just kidding. It transforms into an iPad rest with a keyboard. Pretty cool. The recommended price for the US is $99.
An Australian company that manufacturers routers. So what? Ц one would say. However, their routers are not quite regular Ц they feature modems so you can build a Wi-Fi network from your carrier's 3G connection. This year the company has announced an LTE router. Interestingly enough, the company does not work in retail but only with carriers.
The company has elaborated the idea of transmitting sound through different media Ц any object can become a loudspeaker: a table, a chair, even a bike helmet. Connection to the phone is, naturally, via Bluetooth. There is only one issue Ц upon hearing the statement that you can listen to music via your helmet, I inquired whether there is a production of stereo helmets going on somewhere. The response was that, no and that music lovers would not probably appreciate the sound quality. I cannot understand why anyone would be listening to the horrid mono sound in 2011.
A small American company presented cute cartoons about the future of navigation. For example, you can find out what kind of products a jewelry store sells (no, not pantyhose) and even find a path to it through the mall > so you can get the wedding rings on time > so you can get married > and have children > and grow old together until death do you part Ц everything you would have failed to do but for NAVTEQ navigation. This is how a breakthrough is made.
LTE is gaining pace and more and more products now feature this technology. Novatel Wireless manufactures Mi-Fi routers Ц portable Wi-Fi hot spots with the internet connection via 3G/LTE/WiMax networks, Sprint in particular. Also, their routers support the DLNE media transfer technology.
Trend Micro Ц a near and dearЕ For those who hear this name for the first time I will add that the company specializes on as of yet phantom viruses and spyware in mobile systems. Well, a phantom today is a virus tomorrow so the course is set right for the company, but, unfortunately, one has to pay his bills today, so Trend Micro released a PC version of its antivirus software.
Since the exclusive distribution of Supertooth products with Blue Ant expired last year, the company has been trying to enter the American market on its own. The products are not bad at all Ц the best according to the rep (he looked at me with Puss in Boots eyes) and I have a childish tendency to trust people. I am going to enumerate the reasons of his confidence:
I must say the atmosphere at the Filipino company owned and run by the Frenchmen (why are the French so good with Bluetooth? Does it have to do anything with wine?) was quite relaxed Ц empty and half empty beer bottles were scattered on the exhibit table and one of the reps leaning over the table was having a security breach at Los Pantalones Ц just a guy you would like to pass a beer with. Don't get me wrong Ц I like a relaxed atmosphere much more than a tight ass approach.
That is, my dear readers, all for today. See you tomorrow live from Orlando.
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Published 23 March 2011
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