CTIA Wireless 2009 An Application show

While there will be some cell phones announced at this year’s show, most of the excitement will center on software applications and the virtual store fronts that are popping up to distribute these new applications. Since the success of Apple’s App Store, which provides easy access to third party applications for iPhones, other companies have jumped on the bandwagon announcing their own application stores.

CTIA Wireless 2009
Everyone from Google to Microsoft to Nokia to Research In Motion has announced plans for a new application store. And at this year’s CTIA, some of these new app stores will come to life. RIM is expected to announce that its BlackBerry AppWorld is open for business and Microsoft will start showing off its Marketplace for the first time.

But application markets aren’t the only thing that will be talked about. Carriers, like Verizon and Clearwire will also be touting faster broadband wireless networks that will help make these applications a reality. And of course handset makers will be showing off new products, some of which have already been announced, such as the Palm Pre.

But this year’s spring CTIA Wireless show will likely be smaller than in years past. The economic downturn has taken its toll on the mobile market. Even Nokia, the world’s largest and strongest maker of cell phones, has slashed expectations for 2009. And the company has already begun laying off employees and closing facilities to cut costs.

Still, mobile is hot. And most experts agree that even though the overall cell phone market won’t grow as quickly as it has in years past, it is one of the brightest spots on the technology landscape for the future. And the new technologies and services developed and shown off today will pave the way toward recovery in the future.

Here’s a snapshot of what we expect to see:

Applications galore
The biggest news of the week will likely come from Research in Motion. The company, which makes the popular BlackBerry smartphone, is expected to introduce both an applications storefront and a mobile video-download service for its newer BlackBerry devices. RIM, the preferred smartphone of the suit-and-tie crowd, has increasingly courted consumers over the past year with new phones like the Pearl and the Storm. But throwing the BlackBerry wide-open to consumer-oriented developers could help enhance its standing against Apple’s iPhone.

Microsoft is also expected to show off its Windows Marketplace for Mobile, its version of the mobile computing application store. Microsoft announced the new mobile application store at Mobile World Congress in February. And now it plans to show off the product at the show with a special demonstration during a keynote address on Thursday.

Last year, the company unveiled Windows Mobile 6.1 in Las Vegas, and it announced tweaks to the software at MWC earlier this year with Windows Mobile 6.5. But the broader overhaul of the software promised in Windows Mobile 7 still appears pretty far off in the distance.

Even though Apple won’t be at CTIA, there will be plenty of iPhone applications announced and demonstrated at the show. Skype has already taken the wraps off its new Skype for iPhone app. And other apps are sure to be highlighted and demonstrated, such as MobiTV’s new iPhone application.

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