Two thirds of these guys busted their butts at CTIA in New Orleans. One of them was not me.
Another CTIA has come and gone. I'm not usually one to gripe about the pace of a show, given that at these things we're essentially on a working vacation in cool city. But this spring's CTIA was pretty meh. The biggest announcement was, what, Verizon's Droid Incredible 4G LTE? Not an unimportant phone, I suppose, and it should sell just fine. But while Sprint and AT&T and T-Mobile are rocking phones from the new-and-improved HTC One line, with much-improved cameras, Verizon's missing out.
Samsung missed a pretty big opportunity in New Orleans, too. Not even a week after it unveiled the Galaxy S III to a worldwide (or at least European) audience in London, Sammy squandered a great chance to get the U.S. even more excited about it, and to get CTIA attendees (mostly of the American variety, we wager) proper looks at the new flagship phone. Strike while the iron is hot, they say.
Of course, the U.S. carriers will put their own spin on the Galaxy S III. And it's pretty likely that we'll see some sort of event to show them off, just like what we had with the Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. But it was pretty surprising to see a minimal showing from Samsung here in New Orleans. No both. Just a brief appearance at the Mobile Focus event, where journos and companies cram into a ballroom for food, drink and a slightly more intimate look at products than on the show proper. The Galaxy S III is an important phone that was mostly kept off the floor, and that's a shame. Good thing we went to London to get a proper introduction. (By the way, if you haven't read Alex Dobie's piece -- "Hype, expectation an the Galaxy S III" -- you've missed out.)
The roundtable keynote featuring the CEOs of Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, moderated by CNBC's Jim Cramer, was entertaining if not overly substantive. (It also went a bit long, with each of the four's intro remarks taking more time than many of us would have preferred.) But Sprint CEO Dan Hesse hit home a little bit with a renewed push for mobile privacy, security and safety. Those are three things that will only become more important in the coming years. The Sprint Guardian program, which covers all applicable lines on an account for a relatively small fee, should be an interesting way of going about it.
Otherwise, no real showstopping announcements. No real major releases. Will CTIA in the fall (back in San Diego) make up for it? Or is the usefulness of trade shows starting to run its course for manufacturers?
Oh, by the way. Those two guys in the picture above -- Jared "The Body" DiPane and Anndrew "Yes that's how it's spelled" Vacca kicked some serious ass last week. Cheers, boys.