Wireless show previews new and upcoming gadgets

By Kaitlyn Chornoby

With the world going wireless, companies are competing to stay on top of the game and offer the best to their customers.

The International CTIA Wireless Show, held this year in Orlando rather than the usual Las Vegas, is the perfect place for companies to showcase their new and upcoming merchandise.

Many might consider Sprint to have stolen the four-day show with announcements including its integration with Google Voice, the HTC EVO View 4G tablet, Nexus S 4G and the HTC EVO 3D.

Google Voice allows its users to make and receive free calls and texts in the U.S., forward calls to multiple devices and block certain numbers, among other features.

The program can also provide a transcript of received voicemails on Android phones and even send an email to alert of the new message.

Previously, users had to register a new number to use the service. Now, with the partnership with Sprint, users can port their existing cell phone number to the service, eliminating the need to memorize two numbers.

For Sprint, the partnership “is a strategic pillar to drive growth and strength in the brand,” said Kevin McGinnis, Sprint’s vice president of product.

Although Sprint lacks the resources to offer an innovative service like Google Voice, according to McGinnis, the deal with the company would help evolve the user experience.

HTC continues its run of successful products with the announcement of the EVO View 4G tablet and the EVO 3D, the newest of the HTC smartphone cousins.

The tablet, running Android on a 7-inch screen, features the HTC Scribe stylus, a pressure-sensitive pen.

Although sold separately, the pen will allow users — especially students — to use the tablet as a notebook, writing down notes from meetings and classes and sign documents.

The EVO 3D, which will run exclusively on Sprint’s network, features a 4.3-inch glass-free 3D display. The first of its kind on any network, the phone also packs in a 1.2 gigahertz dual-core processor and WiMAX connectivity. The camera takes a small hit from the original eight megapixel down to five, but supports 1080 video playback.

Pricing still isn’t available, but it is slated for a summer release.

With Sprint’s powerhouse of a display, AT&T is trying to push itself back up to the top, announcing they will be buying T-Mobile USA for $39 billion dollars in cash and stocks.

To put that number into perspective, one could buy over 39 million iPad 2s, 573,000 Cadillac Escalade EXTs or  100,000 two-story homes in California.

With this purchase, AT&T will be acquiring 130 million users and will also expand their LTE footprint — 95 percent of Americans — which is about 46.5 million more than if they had pushed for a 4G LTE alone.

Unfortunately, many T-Mobile customers are not as excited about this merger as AT&T seems to be.

Infatuated by T-Mobile’s straight-forward advertisements and set pricing, some might be concerned that AT&T will subject them to added costs for their 4G initiatives.

T-Mobile is still taking issues into its own hands, though. The show provided the stage for the company to announce the pricing on its LG G-Slate tablet, which stands at $530 with a two-year contract.

The G-Slate is 3D compatible, running Android’s Honeycomb operating system.

Many announcements made at this year’s CTIA conference were to assure anticipating customers that their product is still on track for an upcoming release.

The BlackBerry Playbook, featuring multi-tasking technology, is still on course for a summer release.

Samsung also took their piece of the cake, announcing two new models of the Galaxy Tab, both just slightly thinner than the iPad 2, allowing Samsung to snatch the title of being the thinnest and lightest tablet on the market.

During Samsung’s keynote, they referenced consumer interviews where they were surprised to learn users expect a different experience for different screen sizes on tablets.

“This is why at Samsung, we have been pushing ourselves to constantly evolve our tablet experiences,” said J.K. Shin, president and head of mobile communications for Samsung.

LG showed off a wireless charging pad but has so far been unable to announce which devices it will be compatible with, how much it will cost or when it will be available.

Although technology enthusiasts may feel left in the dark with these recent announcements and promises, they can be assured that the future will be bright — likely filled with AMOLED lights.

For more in-depth information about the keynotes, announcements and event photos, visit daily.ctia.org/wireless2011