Live from CTIA IT: Day Two
It's day two here at CTIA IT in San Francisco and the show rolls on. Yesterday was the mobile enterprise section of the show, which felt odd since the majority of attendees here are focused on content and entertainment. During yesterday's keynote, Microsoft and Nokia took turns trying to convince the audience that they should abandon the BlackBerry and switch their solutions for mobile email. Microsoft pointed out that even though mobile email often requires the use of a second Exchange server -- many enterprise-wide deployments require one server for regular email and another to mobilize Outlook -- the cost of using two Exchange servers is still cheaper than licensing BlackBerry. There was little new in either presentations, but they demonstrated the degree to which Microsoft, Nokia, and others are trying to turn up the heat on RIM.
Despite yesterday's focus on enterprise, there was still plenty of talk about content. John Batter, VP and GM of EA Mobile, spoke about the growth of the mobile game market and the evolving mobile content ecosystem. Comverse briefed me on their new mobile avatar system that will allow carriers to add avatar and personalization functionality to mobile chat and other applications.
Now on to the party front. There were so many receptions yesterday that I simply could not make them all. I did manage to attend three events: Mobile Focus, the Wireless Internet Caucaus reception at the Cartoon Museum, and the Gameloft party. All three events were reasonably well-attended, which is a testament to just how many people are at this show. At Mobile Focus, Microsoft showed me their latest smart phone, the Motorola i930, a push-to-talk device that will run on Sprint Nextel's iDen network. The Microsoft people also beamed as they reminded me about the upcoming Windows Treo, though they offered no additional details. Sony Ericsson was also on hand, showing off some of their new and upcoming devices, including the Walkman phone.
The big hit of Mobile Focus, though, was MobiTV. Their small table was flocked with venture capitalists and reporters, a sign of just how big a trend mobile TV is in this industry. MobiTV showed me their newest versions of their product, including a version that has a cable set top box-like display for schedules and other information. I have to admit, when I first saw MobiTV almost two years ago I was underwhelmed. In a short period of time this company has taken their product to the next level. On top of that, they now claim 500,000 subscribers. If this trend continues, it looks like mobile TV skeptics, including yours truly, may have to eat our hats.
As a final reminder, the FierceWireless Ole party is tonight at the Thirsty Bear at 661 Howard Street in San Francisco from 7-10 pm. Click here to RSVP. I look forward to seeing many of you at our party tonight. - Stephen