Monday, March 31, 2008

CTIA WIRELESS: Viva Las Vegas!

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Although it’s my third time in this city this year, Vegas never gets old to me. There’s something about the air that rejuvenates you the second you arrive, even considering the three-hour time difference between Toronto and here. The weather is gorgeous, and the city is full of talk about the CTIA WIRELESS show, which officially begins tomorrow. Tonight is a big “pre” show event where a group of companies will exhibit in a smaller, more intimate venue (which is often times much more appealing than the crowded and loud show floor). I’ll have tons of great information from that show tomorrow. But before the event has even begun, I’ve already seen my first demo!

Nokia cleverly arranged a car service that gave the company the opportunity to show off its new Nokia Maps 2.0 software (now in beta version) by actually navigating us to the hotel. Although the functions the software offers aren’t new in the portable navigation category, per se, it’s amazing to see how quickly the mobile phone category is ramping up its offerings. Powered by Nokia, the service offers the standard address searches and favourites, but adds a new walking mode that does things like avoid one-way streets, and displays little “bread crumbs”, described the rep, as you walk along your route. The mapping software itself is more robust, with over 15 million Points of Interest (POI), and various viewing modes. It’s worth noting that Nokia showed off the software on the U.S. version of its new N95 handset, which is quite a nifty looking device; not to mention that it includes a whopping 8 GB of internal memory! And the screen itself showed off the vibrant colours of the map in all their glory. The device navigated us to our hotel safe and sound. Hopefully we’ll see this phone in Canada some time soon!

So there you have it. Before I even reached the hotel, I was one step closer to seeing what neat gadgets and technologies are in store at the show. Now it’s time to enjoy 20-degree weather!

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