My Seattle Sojurn is over and I'm back in Oaktown gearing up for the Fall conference/trade show bonanza. Over the next two weeks in San Francisco alone we've got BlackBerry's DEVCON, GigaOm's Mobilize, and Fall CTIA. Used to be that Fall CTIA was THE show to be at in the mobile industry, but times have changed and more companies are using their own press events to launch important new products and services. So what, if anything, can we expect from the next two weeks in the world of mobile?
Aaron is there right now, as I type this, and reports that we won't see the much rumored "BlackPad" tablet computer. That's fine by me; after a week on the road with an iPad, two smartphones and no laptop, I'm pretty certain that the world can wait a bit longer before tablets flood store shelves. But more on that later.
Motorola used last-years Mobilize conference to launch CLIQ, their first Android-powered device. No such launches seem to be on tap for this year, but I'll be reporting live from the event just in case. Expect a focus on apps, services, "the cloud" and so on ... and maybe a sneak peek of a Windows Phone 7 device, if we're super lucky.
This is the wildcard. When I first started covering mobile four and a half years ago, Fall CTIA was the place to see all of the big Holiday product launches. I remember hitting up the press-only event on the first night of the show, shooting video for a few hours, and spending the next three days straight editing and posting hands-on coverage of every hot new device bound for the US market. LG Voyager, anyone? Remember when Verizon launched Voyager as part of their "Next" campaign and it was big, big news? That was then, and this is now, and this year I'm not so sure if we'll see any headliner-level hardware at CTIA.
Apple started the trend of companies holding launch events on their own dime and their own schedule, eschewing the regular CES, MWC, CTIA trade show-oriented launch schedule in favor of one-off dog and pony shows designed to garner maximum attention without having to compete with dozens of other companies launching products during the same three-day period. That doesn't mean that trade shows are entirely devoid of new products - far from it. But look at the past few months: We've already got iPhone 4, Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, Droid X and Droid 2, Desire HD / X / G2 and BlackBerry Torch announced and/or in stores. So while there's certainly more on tap for the holiday season, it's hard to know exactly what - if anything - will use CTIA as its coming out party.