Few places are more materialistic than Las Vegas, with its grandiose hotels and stacks of cash. But at last week’s CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) convention-which showcased several acres of upcoming cellphone and wireless technology-the focus was less on material goods than on what you can do with them. The exhibits boasted no gotta-get-it-now phone, but they did promise many ways to do more with the phone you already have. From file-sharing to postcard-making, the latest possibilities go far beyond mere talk.
Click “Slideshow” above for some examples of new technology from the CTIA.
Jabra´s BT620 is one of a few new Bluetooth headsets that lets you switch seamlessly between listening to your MP3 player and talking on your phone. The earpiece streams hi-fi stereo music from compatible players; when a call comes in, it instantly clicks over to phone mode so that you can answer (or not).
Mapquest announced MapQuest Navigator, which turns your phone into a GPS pathfinder. Expected to be available later this year, it´ll show-and read aloud-step-by-step directions to your destination.
Now you can upload photos no matter where you are. Shozu lets you instantly transport your cameraphone pictures to online sharing sites like Flickr and Kodak EasyShare Gallery. Kodak also introduced a service that creates and sends personalized postcards [shown here] with the click of a phone button.
Forgot an important document on your home computer? Now you can retrieve it from anywhere. A couple companies [like Soonr, pictured here] debuted services that allow remote PC access from a cellphone.
Prefer to get your info by text message rather than by lifting your phone to your ear? SpinVox converts your voicemails to text so that you can read them on your screen.
You don´t need a couch to veg out. Several companies demo-ed applications that let you watch live TV on your phone. MobiTV [shown below] is already available in the U.S.
No, this picture isn´t a low-tech Web site from 1987. It´s a Web site with the new â€.mobiâ€ domain name. Sites that use the domain name are specially formatted to look good on tiny cellphone screens. The new addresses will be available starting at the end of May.
Entertainment innovation abounds this season. SkyZone showed off a mobile version of the online role-playing game Ragnarok [shown here] that should be released this summer. When players rack up points and skills on their phone, they´ll be able to transfer them to their characters online.