A few thoughts from the CTIA show floor, now that I'm safely removed from the insanity and recycled air of the show floor:
Always roll with backup. See photo below ;-)
- Everyone was all ga-ga over the new BlackBerries, and with good reason. The Bold is sweet (see my other post on it). The Pearl Flip 8220 is all chunky and stuff but people are still psyched for a BlackBerry flip. And it's got a nice big keypad and rich, vibrant screen. And, oh yeah, that all-touch BlackBerry Storm should be announced on Verizon any second now.
- Everyone is still all ga-ga over the not released, not leaked, not nothin' at the show Android phone. I talked to a few folks who've seen, held, and used the T-Mobile HTC Dream and the general consensus seems to be, "It's buggy as heck but still really, really cool." Any day now, T-Mo ... we're ready, just drop it on us.
- Nokia still doesn't understand the mainstream US market. They may never get it, and frankly they may not care (giant trade show booths not withstanding). I spent half an hour in a meeting room with Nokia's Bill Plummer showing me a bunch of really cool Series 60 cell phone tricks. They were really cool tricks, but the average US consumer will never care. The high-end Nokia phones are simply too hard to use for the mainstream buyer. Mrs. Average US will go into a network store and buy the branded device that speaks the most directly to her. Nokia's open devices, open networks, unlocked handset strategy will only appeal in the U.S. to gadget geeks and hacker types (with lots of disposable cash to pay those high unlocked prices, to boot). The new Nokias I saw: The N96, N85, and N79 were really cool, but not in a way that makes them any more appealing to stateside consumers.
- HTC, on the other hand, gets it and they're coming hard this year. The Sprint Touch Diamond looks great even though it's yet another cool device for the carrier everyone loves to hate; the Touch Pro is the best WMo smartphone I've seen in awhlie (though it may be too thick for my tastes), and the Touch HD announcement makes me want to keep paying attention to HTC even though the show's over. I would LOVE it if the Touch HD emerges as the first real "Screw iPhone" device to hit the marketplace. Frankly I'm getting tired of iPhone's lack of this, lack of that, lack of the other thing, but we'll now try to sell you even more stuff (see: Genius Playlists) ecosystem. I mean, I still use my iPhone every day, but I'm just getting a little tired of it.
- Sprint's LG Lotus is the sleeper device of the show for me. I've gotta get one to play with for a few weeks to know how I really feel, but I love that they crammed a full QWERTY board and a full host of Sprint services into a compact consumer device with a renewed emphasis on ease-of-use (Sprint's One Click UI). Will folks go for the strangely new square shape? Will Sprint get their customer service woes (real or not, they sure are perceived) in order so folks will give their innovative devices a chance? Remains to be seen.
- And finally, there IS such a thing as too many free industry parties. Trust me.