CTIA: More Than Just Cell Phones

From a new Yahoo mobile portal to Swarovski jewelry for keeping a Bluetooth headset handy, North America's biggest wireless telecom show isn't just about handsets. Here are some of the accessories, gizmos, and services on display so far.

Yahoo Mobile Debuts for Smartphones, iPhone

Yahoo's latest mobile portal, Yahoo Mobile has finally launched. Announced in February at Mobile World Congress, the service is now available for more than 300 HTML-enabled smartphones--simply browse to (if you can remember the URL). iPhone users, meanwhile, can simply download the new Yahoo Mobile iPhone app (left). The portal promises customizable access to a range of sites and services, and Yahoo hopes it will become the home page of choice for mobile Web browsers.

Yahoo also announced a Yahoo Messenger app for iPhones. Stay tuned.

One Mobile Service to Rule Them All?

Yahoo isn't alone in its aspirations for portal supremacy. One of the trends emerging at this year's CTIA is a slew of initiatives to consolidate your social network and other communication services into a single interface. So rather than logging into Twitter, Facebook, your instant messaging client of choice, your SMS inbox, and voicemail, these services (most of which have yet to be deployed for consumers) would let you manage all of the above. Contenders include 3Deep; the Alcatel-Lucent Rich Communications Manager; Smith-Micro QuickLink Messenger and several smaller players including RocketVox (shown above). However these services typically sell to carriers, who in turn make them available to their customers; it's not clear that you'll be able to pick and choose.

QuickOffice Delivers Word, Excel to the iPhone

Consisting of only two apps, QuickOffice for the iPhone is a bit skimpy as productivity suites go. But that's not stopping the folks at QuickOffice from calling their bundle of Word and Excel for the iPhone a suite. As iPhone apps go, it's pretty pricey--$20 for the bundle--but then again, these are top-drawer productivity tools. They'll go on sale "in the next few weeks," according to the Quickoffice news release, and will also be availably singly for $13 apiece.

Slacker Gets the Words Out

Slacker, the popular Internet radio site, only introduced its iPhone app earlier this year, but already there's an upgrade (also on the BlackBerry and Web version, shown)--at least for subscribers to its $3.99-a-month premium Slacker Plus service. Slacker Plus now provides lyrics to the tunes it plays, a particular boon to karaoke and sing-along types.

Never Lose Your Bluetooth Earpiece Again

Those of us who prefer not to look like we're constantly conversing with aliens or secret agents can take our Jawbone or other Bluetooth earpiece off. But when a call does come in, it's sometimes troublesome to rummage around one's pockets or purse in order to avoid having to actually hold a phone to one's ear (ugh). Nectar Accessories offers a couple of alternatives: Its BlueClip line helps you keep your headset handy, either via a clip with a retractable cord or a pendant necklace with a little lasso (and Swarovski crystal bling, too). The cheapest retractable BlueClip (a clip model) will set you back $15; the most expensive Swarovski necklace (sterling silver setting and snake chain adjustable from 22 to 24 inces) goes for $160.

Pill Bottle, Phone Home

Vitality's GlowCap Solo joins a growing group of products targeting seniors who forget to take their meds. It's basically a pharmacy-style pill bottle with a battery-powered lid that lights up if you fail to open the container when you should be taking your daily pill. If that fails, the device plays a little electronic tune. It's available for $30 on Amazon. What's the wireless angle? None--yet. But Vitality Is also showing off its upcoming connected model, which communicates wirelessly with a small box you plug into the wall, which in turns has the ability to alert the greater world (via satellite, per Vitality) that you've forgotten to take your medication.

Don't laugh--you're going to be hearing a lot more about technologies for seniors as baby boomers retire and age. A company called iVisit is up for an award for a unified communications platform, iVisit RX, developed specifically for healthcare and assisted living purposes. And at a session on SMS short codes, I heard talk of using SMS messages to remind seniors to take their meds. When we're not able to sit at our PCs, we'll still probably be toting our mobile phones around.

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