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Wireless Industry Open For Business At CTIA 2008

Las Vegas — The wireless industry is opening up to open networks, new spectrum, new mobile-device vendors and new user interfaces here at CTIA 2008.

For use on open networks such as Sprint’s Xohm Mobile-WiMAX network, Nokia has turned up with a WiMAX-embedded Internet tablet, and Motorola is demonstrating a WiMAX PC Card in tablet PCs. Two companies have also teamed up here to demonstrate the reference design of a Mobile-WiMAX phone.

To open up GSM networks to phones not sold by the network’s operator, a growing number of suppliers are targeting the unlocked-GSM market. Those vendors include Neonode, Clarity and Velocity Mobile, and they join unlocked-phone suppliers Epoq and i-Mate here at the show.

Newcomers to the U.S handset market include Neonode, Windows Mobile-focused Velocity Mobile, and Clarity, which is targeting the senior-citizen market.

As the United States opens up to new cellular spectrum, vendors such as Samsung, UTStarcom, and ZTE are showing their first phones operating on the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum. And in opening up to new designs, suppliers such as Neonode and Samsung are showing more touchscreen-equipped feature phones.

Also at the show, attendees will find:

  • one of the first PDA-phones using the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS. It’s from HTC;
  • some of the first W-CDMA HSPA (high speed packet access) phones, which combine HSDPA for high-speed downlinks and HSUPA for high-speed uplinks. They’re from Velocity Mobile and i-mate. For its part, Novatel is expanding its selection of HSPA USB modems;
  • the first CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A phone from Samsung, which is one of the company’s first touchscreen-equipped phones with localized haptic feedback;
  • new MediaFLO-equipped phones, one each from Samsung and LG, for AT&T Mobile TV service launching in May;
  • QuickPlay Media’s downloadable software that enables any BlackBerry on any network to stream 20 music and comedy channels from the XM Radio Mobile service at $7.99/month;
  • femtocells from such companies as Motorola and AirWalk. These tiny cellular base stations for the home are designed to improve reception within the home and replace landline service in the home;
  • and plenty of LTE infrastructure intended to enable commercial availability of the high-speed service to consumers as early as 2010 in the U.S.

The products will appear in booths from 1,200 exhibitors, up from last year’s 1,000, packed into about 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, about the same as last year, CTIA said. The association expects about 40,000 attendees, also about the same as last year.

The attendees will find handsets and other mobile devices from the following companies (in alphabetical order from Alcatel to ZTE) in the Las Vegas Convention Center: