Live from the CTIA Wireless 2008 Keynote

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Doug Aamoth and Peter Ha here at the CTIA Keynote in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ll be pounding the keys at Petey snaps photos. Hold on to your hats, it’s surely going to be a psycho-erotic thriller of magnanimous proportions.

That’s it. Thanks for stopping by. More coverage all this week.

10:57 – “The walled-garden wireless company is the company of the past… At Sprint, we want to be the easiest to work with and the most open provider.” More SDKs coming out. Easier for developers to put out web-accessible apps that’ll run on Sprint devices. Will begin exploring true open-source development. We want to own the pole position and we want to own “the now” as the most open network in America.

10:55 – The market is ready for this technology now. We have a very strong lineup of devices and network equipment. It works NOW.

10:50 – Sprint WiMAX network (XOHM) will give them a two year market advantage. Super fast data everything at the touch of a button. Videos from camcorders to TVs and video sharing sites at the same time. Anywhere video conferencing. It’ll be like your at-home broadband experience but anywhere outside your home.

10:47 – Talks about Simply Everything for $99 per month. It’s simple. How about a simple phone? The Instinct by Samsung. Like no other touchscreen phone. Faster. Pre-loaded apps. Entertainment. GPS. Over-the-air downloads. Available for a “very competitive price” this summer.

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10:45 – Mobile content industry is exploding. At $72 billion per year, it’s bigger than Hollywood and the music industry.

10:43 – New phones coming later this year from LG, Motorola, etc. but the real excitement will be coming from mobile data services.

10:41 – “Can I download that on my phone has been replaced by ‘how fast can I download that on my phone.'”

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10:39 – Sprint’s new CEO Dan Hesse takes the stage after a video about how consumers want everything instantly on their mobile devices without feeling like we’re using mobile devices.

10:35 – Microsoft will have Windows Mobil 6.1 devices on all five major carriers.

10:33 – Sony XPERIA X1 quick UI demo. It moves around. That’s about it. It’s over pretty quickly.

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10:30 – Internet Explorer Mobile

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- Desktop experience

- Full web pages

- YouTube made possible via Flash Lite

10:27 – Live Search for Windows Mobile

Shows a bunch of different mapping features and says “How interesting is that?” One very quiet clap can be heard. Otherwise, silence.

10:20 – Demo of Windows Mobile 6.1 on Samsung BlackJack

- Threaded text messaging

- Mailbox filtering by typing first few letters of whatever you’re looking for

- Built-in ISP settings and Bluetooth pairing codes for a bunch of different devices and providers.

- “Sliding panel” icons light up as you get new e-mails, voicemails, etc.

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10:18 – Windows Mobile 6.1 announcement

Simpler and easier to use for phone functions.

New home screen.

New browser that replicates desktop experience.

New platform for entertainment experiences.

System Center Mobile Device Manager for businesses. Easier for IT depts to work with Windows Mobile phones on company networks.

10:16 – Innovation — Infrastructure: Microsoft PlayReady (DRM), NVIDIA. Web: Silverlight, Flash Light. Services: Tellme, Danger, Musiwave, ScreenTonic.

10:14 – Not just Windows Mobile — all of Microsoft will be dedicated to the mobile device revolution. Key idea will be choice. Work with 160+ mobile operators around the world.

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10:11 – Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division. Says mobile devices are the future. Software and services are the engine.

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10:09 – Asks who wants a one-way trip to Mars to help build the city. A bunch of people go up on stage.

10:05 – The US wireless industry is exciting and innovative. Branson believes in the MVNO model. Virgin Mobile Festival August 9th and 10th in Baltimore. Kyocera is the sponsor.  New festival phone coming out. Looks kinda like the LG enV. Foo Fighters will headline. Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots.

10:03 – In 1997, the wireless industry needed help and wireless consumers needed a champion. Virgin Mobile was born. Emphasis on flexibility, customers first.

10:00 – Virgin Mobile is doing a lot for the environment. Postage paid envelopes in new phones to send in old phones to be recycled, zero carbon music festivals, etc.

9:58 – Need to clean up the Earth’s atmosphere. Need great minds. Virgin’s putting up $25 million for whoever can figure out a good way to extract carbon from the environment when it gets too hot and then put it back in if it gets too cold. Will invest $3 billion — all the profits from their “dirty businesses” as Branson calls them — to find better alternatives. Encourages other companies to do the same.

9:54 – Virgin and Google have partnered to form “Virgle” — this might be an April Fool’s Day joke. “We’re building a giant space ark powered by the Sun. We’ll be taking 30 animals, people, etc. on board and will put people on Mars and build a city on Mars.” People are clapping, some enthusiastically. He’s gone on to the next subject now — hasn’t said it’s a joke.

9:52 – Took on train industry by using environmentally-friendly, yet superfast trains. So trains, planes, and now maybe space flight. Virgin Galactic. “Are any of you signed up already? Does anyone want to go to space?” People clap.

9:50 – Wanted to see if this “brand adventure” would work for other industries. Went on to start 300 or so other Virgin-branded companies.

9:48 – Began Virgin Atlantic in 1984. People laughed, newspapers called them nuts. “Too old to rock and roll, too young to fly.” Nobody will fly on an airline called “Virgin”. Virgin Atlantic has gone on to be the airline of choice between the US and the UK.

9:45 – Record company starting an airline seemed weird but record company execs fly all the time and the experience is horrible. Why not start an airline? Originally had a canceled flight to Puerto Rico so he chartered a plane for $2000 and sold tickets to all the other passengers for $39 and called it Virgin Airline.

9:42 – Back in 1966, Virgin first started talking about environmentalism. People laughed. Original company name was Slip-Disk Records, changed to Virgin. Patent office wouldn’t let them register the name for three years because it was rude. Branson and co. decided that Virgin could be a brand name for a bunch of other stuff.

9:40 – Talks about doing things their way. Going against the grain, etc.

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9:38 – Here come Sir Richard Branson. He looks dreamy! He’s charming like
Hugh Grant but rough-and-tumble like Chuck Norris and smart like Rockefeller.

9:36 – Video playing showcasing what Virgin’s been up to lately. Virgin likes to shake up the big conglomerates. It’s taken on travel, music, mobile, etc. “Sabotage” by The Beastie Boys plays over some commercial and event footage. 

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9:35 – Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile, comes out to introduce Richard Branson.

9:33 – Talks about E911. It’s good, but let’s make it better. Thanks and goodbye.

9:29 – Big carriers have finally embraced open standards. He will vote against Skype’s request to open up cellular networks. Everybody claps.

9:27 – Rural areas will benefit from the 700MHz spectrum. Wireless data rivaling DSL and cable internet speeds. Open platform requirement, although initially opposed by the wireless industry, has and will be good for consumers. Good for choice and competition.

9:26 – Recent FCC auction was good. Doubled amount of available wireless spectrum. It made a bunch of money. I missed the exact figure, but I bet it’s more than my salary. Times a million.

9:25 – Competition is good. About 95% of Americans can choose between three wireless providers and 90% can choose between at least four. Prices go down because of competition. Adoption goes up.

9:23 – The industry is growing. You (consumers) will be a big part of it. Hopefully we (the FCC) will be a smaller part.

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9:21 – FCC Chairman Kevin Martin takes the stage.

9:19 – 2007 wireless revenue was $23 billion. 48 billion text messages sent each month.

9:18 – 255 million wireless subscribers as of December, 2007. That’s 84% of the entire US population.

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9:16 – CTIA president Steve Largent takes the stage. He looks like Brian from “Wings” — you know, Joe’s brother.

9:15 – The next 25 years will make the first 25 years look like the on-ramp to some sort of superhighway. Welcome to CTIA!

9:13 – Exciting new heights for the wireless industry. “If you think this is a maturing industry, think again.” Some think 4G will generate up to 50 billion dollars in revenue out of the gate via interoperability. Good for consumers too. Seamless data transfer between mobile, computers, TVs, etc. More integrated into life, like wireless refrigerators, medical devices, and whatnot.

9:11 – To policymakers, 1) Regulation slows down rapid growth. 2) The wireless industry adds greatly to the economy. It’s not been affected by recent economic depression. Don’t mess with a good system. 3) Regulation prevents newcomers and stifles innovation. Also, there’s too much tax levied on consumers.

9:08 – Wireless industry doesn’t want government regulation. “Let us continue to compete…Customers provide the best type of regulation by their ability to choose.”

9:07 – CTIA has 1200 vendors covering 400,000 square feet

9:05 – Showing a video about all the stuff wireless can do. Car emergencies, business use, etc. “Ready for whatever America wants next.”

9:03 – Wireless industry invested $24 billion last year. Good for the economy, creates jobs. In 25 short years, we’ve created a whole new way of working, living, and playing. Praises number portability, free evenings and weekends, ringtones. Five years ago the buzz was wireless broadband. Now it’s here. Three years ago, it was wireless TV. We did that too.

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9:01 – Verizon Wireless’ Lowell McAdam takes the stage to welcome everyone. He reminisces about how small the conference used to be. It used to fit in a single conference room! He thanks some industry pioneers and the 30 members of the CTIA board. Thanks for another great show this year, etc.

9:00 – The lights have dimmed and I can’t see my keyboard. Ah, now there are searchlights flailing to and fro. It’s like a concert for people who wear suits.

8:57 – Peter is feverishly typing something that may or may not be related to CTIA. He keeps hitting the backspace key — a sign to me that he’s typing too fast.

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