Greetings from sunny Orlando, FL which, to quote my Dad, "Looks like a cross between Coney Island and Las Vegas."
To give you an idea of my dedication to the art of bringing you the latest news from the wireless industry as it happens, not only did I spend all day yesterday - one of the six greatest sports days of the year - on planes traveling from San Francisco to Orlando, I'm really not all that bent out of shape over having missed Georgetown's dramatic come-from-behind overtime victory over North Carolina in the process. Sure I would have liked to see my Hoyas pull it out - but, hey, they're in the Final Four and I'm at CTIA. So life ain't bad at all.
The show kicks off in full tomorrow, but a few big media events have me here today. First up, Samsung and Sprint are holding a press conference this afternoon which looks to be the formal unveiling of their new dual-sided music phone, likely to be named "UpStage." As mentioned last week, the m620 "UpStage" is a slim candybar with two distinct sides: A phone side featuring a small LCD display, full dialing keypad, and 1.3 MP digital camera, and a music side featuring a larger display and dedicated music player controls. Samsung's going all out this week, co-sponsoring a launch party with Sprint at the Hard Rock on Wed. night and also throwing a media-only breakfast that morning, at which I hope to get my paws on the Ultra Smart F700 and F520 smartphones.
Later on this evening is Pepcom's Mobile Focus party, a media-only preview of the show's hot exhibitors and products. In addition to food, beverages, and blog nerds, I should get the chance to get close to the latest wares from many of the major handset manufacturers and carriers. Top on my hope-to-see list is the Helio Ocean, the MVNO's first smartphone, made by Pantech. The Ocean looks to combine Helio's vast mobile entertainment options with business features like Exchange Server integration. What's eye-catching about the Ocean is its dual-slider format which, while beefing the handset's profile up to 20+ mm, gives it dedicated dialing and QWERTY keypads in a candybar form.
There's also a story hitting the Web that Motorola has finalized the "true successor" to their iconic RAZR phone. The LAZR may now in fact be called the RAZR 2. It's even thinner, and purported to run Moto's new Linux-based operating system. I'll see what I can find out from the Moto people later tonight.
Alright, time for me to find some coffee and head out to the Orange County Convention Center. Maybe there's a scoop or two lying around the Smartphone Summit and Emerging Tech Forums...