The best place at any trade show is your departure gate at the airport. While events like CTIA certainly can be interesting, and even fun, they're also a lot of work. What's more, I don't enjoy being away from my family, my friends, and my own couch. Yet, even with those caveats I can always count on CTIA, CES, and the GSMA World Congress to teach me lessons about what's happening in the cell phone world. Even when the show is relatively quiet, as CES 2009 was, I wind up learning something.
Times are tough Even before the CNET crew arrived in Las Vegas we knew that CTIA wouldn't be too lively. Such was the case at both CES and GSMA, so we couldn't imagine that CTIA would be different. As I said in my CTIA wrap-up, the economy is a likely factor, but CTIA also has the unfortunate position of following two events with worldwide profiles.
As expected, attendance was down by a noticeable amount. I don't have figures to back me up right now, but there were plenty of telling signs that fewer people made the trip to Vegas. For instance, I didn't have to wait in line to get lunch and at times you could go bowling down the convention floor aisles. More importantly, while horrendous taxi lines are very common at McCarran Airport, I waited only a few minutes. I seriously think that the length of the Vegas airport cab line should be a new economic indicator.
News at the show was also pretty light. In its usual fashion, Samsung made the strongest showing with LG and Kyocera following closely behind. Yet, the total numbers of new phones introduced was far smaller than in previous years, and we didn't hear any hot tidbits around high-profile items like the Palm Pre or the Google Android OS. Moto, Nokia, and HTC had just one major announcement each, and Sony Ericsson had none. Sony Ericsson even shared a booth with parent company Ericsson, a sure sign that it the company is laying low.… Read more