What Is CTIA Telling Us?

CTIA is in full swing right now. Rather than giving you the blow-by-blow of every product announced (there’s more than a few…duh) I think we should look at the overall picture of what’s going on. Below are a few highlights…let us take these in as we ponder what it all means.

  1. Palm announcing their phones heading to AT&T
  2. Samsung is introducing a bevy of new phones
  3. A number of Android-based phones are being announced across all carriers and manufacturers
  4. AT&T is talking about their network and is also wanting more spectrum
  5. Sprint announcing their 4G phone

So what does this all mean? It’s all about the phone again. Consumers want a phone that does more than simply make phone calls and this is clearly evident with the slew of manufacturers building Android phones that will be sold on all the major networks.

Predictions:

  1. Palm is going to bite it – Sorry Palm…I love you but it’s just too little, too late. The Palm Pilot was revolutionary. Good job…too bad you rested on your laurels. The Palm Treo was a great phone. Too bad you rested on your laurels. The Palm Pre is a great phone running on a great OS. Why did you announce to the world what your phone would do and then wait half a year for everyone else to implement those features in their phones while you didn’t even release one to the public yet? Now the iPhone is the clear leader and Android-based phones are quickly gaining ground.
  2. Android phones will become more widespread – It used to be just a phone for geeks however the quirks are getting worked out, the form factors are getting cleaned up, and all the carriers have them while all the major manufacturers are building them. Hate HTC? Buy a Samsung. Hate Samsung? Buy a Dell. Hate AT&T? Use one on Verizon or Sprint. You get the picture. It’s not just a novelty anymore…it’s a clear competitor to the iPhone for any user to purchase.
  3. Sprint will continue innovating – Sprint is the number 3 carrier behind Verizon and AT&T and they know it. They’ve done a good job slowing down the mass migration of customers to other carriers and are doing a good job at getting phones. Their prices are great and their 4G expansion is moving along steadily. These are things that they need to do to stay alive. It may not be enough to push them up to being the number two carrier anytime soon but it will keep the other carriers honest and keep the innovations coming.

Usually CTIA announces a couple cool phones and then that’s that. I remember when the Samsung Instinct was announced. “Yay cool!” and then nothing. The Palm Pre last year…rock on…but then what? This year’s announcements however seem to illustrate something greater, that the big picture is actually changing rather than simply being a show where a couple cool new toys are introduced.