Thursday, May 10, 2012

CTIA Wireless show technology a glimpse into the future

As the International CTIA Wireless show was winding down, I left New Orleans with a feeling that I experienced the future of technology. It was happening all over the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and let me tell you, that is one big place.

I didn't take long to run into bumper-to-bumper traffic as I tried to make my way home and I had plenty of time to think about all the cool gadgets and software applications as I snaked along the interstate past the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

This was an international show and the guys from Japan, China, Germany, South America and other locations certainly had good technology to show off. I think their 20-hour-plus flights were worth the time and effort to share their innovative ideas with us.

I didn't know much about them before, but I am now a fan of international tech companies like NTT Docomo and Huawei.

I have an avatar coming via email, which was created by a couple of sharp guys with Docomo, whose 3D modeling application took a photo of my face and added the ability to make my image smile or wink. It was awesome and a glimpse of what's to come in the 3D modeling space.

The representatives from China also caught my attention with a built-in retractable headset for smartphones. The headset is incorporated into a phone case that also has a 1500 mAh battery. This technology is their solution to limit radiation from mobile phones when talking with the device held up to your ear. You also can't loose it or leave it at home or in the car. If you have your phone, you'll have your headset. I need one of these.

Several CEOs from Visa Inc., Mozilla Corporation, Electronic Arts and Spotify left the audience pumped with their visions for the future of their industries. Their keynotes certainly had the "wow factor" and I now want to play more games, after listening to Electronic Arts' John Riccitiello and watching his demonstration video.

A few other things stood out from their presentations to a quiet and attentive audience of tech gurus and buffs from all over the world.

HTML 5 is the future of the mobile web, so embrace it.

In the "you probably didn't know this" department, people spend more time playing games on their mobile devices than talking and this industry will grow even larger in the years ahead.

Mobile payments are going strong in developing countries as a money transfer solution, such as in Uganda and Nigeria and it's just around corner for us in the states. Visa and Mastercard, along with partnering banks, have big plans for our smartphones to be used as wallets.

I learned that Spotify, a mobile music technology with European roots, is gaining traction in the U.S. after being on the scene for about a year. CEO Daniel Ek says they are here to stay and offer a vast library of songs and playlists.

The Sony engineers have been hard at work developing their contactless IC cards technology, which can be used for e-tickets, mobile wallet transactions and tracking your healthcare through an online healthcare management system. By using NFC technology, devices such as Pedometers, blood glucose monitors and thermometers can transfer information to your NFC enabled mobile phone or a PC with just a tap.

But my favorite at the Sony booth was the One2Touch wireless keyboard that works with your smartphone. During a demonstration, a Sony representative just simply placed the phone on​ the slim keyboard and started typing, with no charging or pairing. Sony says the keyboard can be folded to pocket size. This technology falls in the "I've got to have that" category.

There will no shortage of smartphone choices, as more handset manufacturers enter the market. Two heavyweights that you'll hear more about are Unnecto and Plum, who both have offices in the U.S. They offer low-cost dual SIM devices in variety of styles, including touchscreens and QWERTY keypads, that'll work on GSM networks.

At the LG booth, I was attracted to the LG Optimus Vu smartphone, which is only available in Korea at the moment. It'll have a 5-inch display, a unique 4:3 ratio and note-taking features with a stylus. This device will attempt to combine tablet and mobile phone features in a size that'll slip into your inside jacket pocket. This one will likely compete with 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note and will be worth checking out when it hits these shores.

The automobile industry was in the house with a slick, black Porsche, sporting the QNX Software Systems integration, which is a subsidiary of Research In Motion, or RIM. We'll also find QNX technology and features in the upcoming release of BlackBerry 10 devices this fall. Around the corner, Ford Motor Company showed off an electric Ford Focus with their Sync technology.

There was much more technology and almost too much to see throughout the gigantic convention center that made your feet hurt after all the walking back and forth.

I think that Gary Kovacs, the CEO of Mozilla Corp. and the maker of the popular Firefox browser summed it all up by saying "the future is always sooner."

That was certainly the case at the International CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans.

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