CTIA 2012 kicks off next week in the Big Easy, and PCWorld will be at the show to bring you all the latest mobile news from New Orleans.
Some New Phones
With a lack of press conferences from the major handset makers, we're unlikely to see any flagship phones launching at CTIA this year. Samsung just announced its Galaxy S III phone, after all. We probably won’t encounter U.S.-branded Galaxy S III phones quite yet; those are expected to debut this summer, but no exact dates have been given.
The HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, for example, briefly appeared on Verizon’s site, but quickly disappeared. Luckily, a few blogs caught screenshots before Verizon could take the specs list down; the Droid Incredible 4G LTE reportedly has a 1.2GHz processor, a 4-inch Super LCD screen, and 1GB of RAM. Another model, the HTC EVO 4G LTE, is scheduled to make its debut on May 7.
Huawei, Kyocera, LG, and ZTE all have booths on the show floor, so we might see a few new phones, or phones that were announced at CES or MWC and now have U.S. and carrier branding. Two new companies that specialize in inexpensive handsets--Plum and Unnecto--also will be present.▾ read more ▾
On the flip side, many of the major handset makers and companies will be absent from the show. Neither RIM nor Sony will attend the show. Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung won’t have booths, nor will Sprint. And Apple will not be at CTIA either--but that’s no surprise.
Where Are the Tablets?
At last year’s CTIA, we saw a number of new tablets introduced, in conjunction with carriers. This time around, the tablet rumor mill has been suspiciously quiet. Most likely, we may hear of a carrier launching one of the many tablets already introduced at CES 2012 or Mobile World Congress.
Many of those tablets--such as the Acer Iconia Tab A200 and Iconia Tab A510, the Asus Transformer Pad TF300, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0--have already launched individually as Wi-Fi-only models, but none have been announced with mobile broadband service.
Some manufacturers appear to be sitting out the tablet wars for now. HTC, which hit it big at last year’s CTIA with the Sprint EVO View 4G/HTC Flyer, appears to be taking a break from the tablet game, as the company hasn't announced a new tablet since last year’s model.
Samsung already announced that its next Galaxy Tab 2, the 10.1-inch version, will ship May 11. But we’ve not heard any hint of what’s happening with a U.S. launch for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 since it debuted at MWC in February.
The Great Spectrum Debate
The CEOs of the Big Four carriers--Ralph de la Vega of AT&T, Dan Hesse of Sprint, Philipp Humm of T-Mobile, and Dan Mead of Verizon--will sit down with Jim Cramer of CNBC's Mad Money show for a roundtable discussion.
Will the gloves come off over spectrum availability? The Big Four carriers have all lobbied for more spectrum--the government-issued radio waves that carry your texts and phone calls from your phone to someone else's. The discussion between the CEOs of T-Mobile and Verizon should be especially interesting, as T-Mobile attempted to block Verizon’s proposal to purchase unused mobile spectrum from four cable companies.
Sprint might also officially announce the timing for its 4G LTE rollout. The carrier previously declared that initially it will be launching LTE in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, and San Antonio.
CTIA officially starts on Tuesday, May 8. Right now the rumor mill is quiet regarding new phones and tablets, but shows always hold a few surprises. The news will start flooding in on Monday, the day before the show opens. Check PCWorld.com for all of the latest news and hands-on impressions of new mobile technology from CTIA 2012.