Weekly Wrap: High Hopes in the Big Easy
By Carlo Longino, Fri Mar 21 09:00:00 GMT 2003

With the eyes of the world turned to the Middle East, the US wireless industry gathered in New Orleans...

As the CeBIT show in Germany wound down, the US wireless industry opened its biggest annual gathering, the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans. Though world events sucked some of the wind (and news coverage) from their sails, there was no shortage of news from the event.

Just like at CeBIT, the focus was on handsets. While the US device market has often lagged the rest of the world in offering advanced handsets, manufacturers are quickly closing the gap. A number of device makers unveiled new devices, including Nokia, which is making a big push to gain CDMA market share, Siemens, Motorola, Kyocera, LG, and Samsung. Many of the models shown off were either new ones designed for the North American market, or "continental-ized" versions of models announced at CeBIT, some featuring support for the new GSM 850 networks.

Microsoft was also trying to make some inroads on its home turf, announcing deals that will see US carriers Sprint and Verizon Wireless carry devices running Pocket PC Phone Edition. Microsoft also penned a deal with Research in Motion to provide BlackBerry connectivity to mobile devices running a Microsoft OS - though RIM announced a similar deal with Symbian this week too. But the big question remains - where's Smartphone?

Qualcomm also used home-field advantage to make some announcements concerning BREW, the biggest being the downloading platform's availability for Palm OS mobile devices. US carrier Alltel will launch the technology on the Palm-powered Kyocera 7135 smartphone, allowing users to download and install Palm OS applications directly to their device without a PC sync.

One bit of news your intrepid reporter left out of last week's Wrap, from the "Don't Believe the Hype" Dept.: A Sony Ericsson booth-dude was overkeen to show us the new "QuickShare" feature on the otherwise very cool T610 handset. He showed us how a user could access the camera and take a photo with something like two clicks (which is nice). That's it. That's QuickShare. While we were expecting some application to help users easily send and share photos with their friends, the only sharing it supports is showing somebody the screen - or "sharing the experience," as he put it. Like we said, don't believe the hype.