Another Year, Another CTIA
It has been a few years since I've attended a CTIA conference but I must say, not much has changed. While they've added a Mobile Entertainment Pavilion, it still remains largely a carrier-centric show with infrastructure and handset companies making up the majority of the exhibitors. During the "Addressing Usability in the Wake of the iPhone" panel, which Boris Fridman, CEO of Crisp Wireless was a dominant panelist, I was still surprised to hear phrases like "the year of mobile" still being bandied about. While the panelists had a frank and, sometimes charged, discussion about the monetization of the mobile web, the audience was still concerned with addressing usability concerns of the mass market -- those millions of phones out there with un- or under-utilized web browsers. In fact, one of the truest statements came from the panelists who commented on how he just wished his phone didn't spend so much time in the charger. As I left the session, I noticed all the people standing around at recharging stations and realized my battery issue wasn't unique to my Treo. Color touch screens, messaging, web browsing, these are all energy hogs that need to continue to be addressed as functionality continues to rise. One of the more surprising comments I heard was a Mobile Entertainment Live, when, during the "What Sucks" panel, speaker Lucy Hood, formerly of Fox, stated that "Texting was mobile's killer app." I haven't heard killer app being discussed in a while but I was happy to hear it clarified as mobile's "first" killer app. Otherwise I would hate to think that nothing lay ahead and the trend that swept Europe years before making it big in the U.S. is the best we can talk about at Mobile Entertainment Live. Luckily, amidst the jargon, euphemisms, parties, gambling, and trade show same old-same old, it was good to see more and more publishers coming to the table to enter into mobile or expand their presence on the mobile web. Others are getting serious about monetizing through mobile advertising and delivering value to their early advertisers with tools such as MicroSite Builder. And I was happy to see the Mobile Entertainment Live audience engaged with our video presentation, even if I did feel bad for the guy with the PowerPoints who presented second to a much smaller audience. Check it out yourself on YouTube. CTIA...thanks and we'll see you in San Francisco in the fall...and seriously reconsider moving back to New Orleans.
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