Top 10 Signs of the Economic Slump at CTIA

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Sad, but true: Even the red-hot mobile telecom business isn't immune to the economic downturn.

CTIA, normally a super-lively gathering of thousands in a still-evolving tech sector, was unusually subdued this year. Here are the top 10 signs of the times we observed while covering North America's biggest wireless telecom show.

10. Big-name Las Vegas Strip hotel rooms that cost hundreds at the Consumer Electronics Show were available for $70. (Technologizer Harry McCracken, former PCW editor-in-chief, was upgraded to a fancy suite at the MGM Grand for free.)

9. The only people on hotel taxi lines were regular tourists (unless CTIA attendees now routinely wear Bermuda shorts and tank tops while toting hurricane glasses filled with what looked like super-sweet tropical drinks).

8. Honey-baked ham and pretzels instead of shrimp and sushi at press parties. (I'm not complaining, just observing.)

7. No big (or even small) banners festooned the exterior wall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

6. North Hall devoted to Car Care show (read: car wash show), which was visibly promoted in signs in the main concourse. Did they think we would switch over?

5. Someone saw pigeons wandering in the registration area. Birds, not people.

4. Calls made in convention center weren't dropped, for a change. And there was no wait for a computer in the Media Center.

3. No live entertainment on the show floor that I noticed, unless you count a DJ.

2. Samsung mobile charging centers were more crowded than the Samsung booth.

And the top sign that things were really slow at CTIA:

1. No long lines at a Convention Center Starbucks.

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