8 Cool mobile technologies from CTIA 2007, San Francisco

by David Spark on October 24, 2007

I got to spend a little time this week at the trade show floor of CTIA plus attended a few press events. Here’s a wrap up of some of the cool stuff I saw. Note, this is not exhaustive. I only got a chance to see a few items, but these are the items I thought were worth a mention.

Listen to the Spark Minute. John Scott and David Spark from Green 960 in San Francisco, CA talk about some cool mobile technology Spark saw at the CTIA conference (Run time: 6:06).

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Talkster – Free mobile-to-mobile phone calls anywhere in the world to 29 countries. All you have to do is listen to a ten second advertising message on each end and go through this funky handshaking process of the recipient receiving a pre-call and then hanging up. Then the calling party receives an SMS with a local number that you can then call and be connected to the international party. Their direct competitor is Jajah which is also very cool (See “How to make cheap to free phone calls”) but Jajah can’t connect everywhere in the world for free like Talkster claims. Talkster also has a Facebook application. I think I’m the only one who doesn’t these days.

Whrrl (from Pelago) – What happens when you mash social networking, Yelp recommendations, mapping, and location based services delivered to your mobile phone? Whrrl is trying to be Yelp, but only recommendations from your trusted sphere of friends. A compatible service to this would be Trusted Opinion (see “Web 2.0 companies from Israel“) which shows an impressive visual mind map of your friends’ recommendations.

Solio – Portable hybrid solar power charger for mobile phones and other electronic devices. They’ve got three models, and this is their newest and smallest one but doesn’t hold nearly as much juice as the other two models.

iVisionMobile – Creators of iMessenger and iPayText. iMessenger offers an extremely simply tool for launching an SMS campaign using a shared shortcode. Truly takes only a few minutes to do. Great for small phone lists like real estate brokers that want to send listings to their 20 clients. First 100 messages are free and then after that costs range from 3 to 10 cents depending on quantity. The other product allows you to sell items using the mobile phone. Mobile ticketing is not new. What’s new is how cheap this is. No hugely expensive terminal to purchase. The item they have rents for $49/month.

Mobiledata Now – Traditionally this CTIA conference has been focused on mobile entertainment. And at every show I attend they keep telling us that mobile will be coming to the enterprise. Mobile has come to the enterprise but all everyone in a corporate setting uses their smartphones for is email. There are many players trying to port over corporate databases to the mobile device. Mobiledata Now is offering a simpler solution that operates through SMS. Instead of doing a massive configuration and having to outfit everyone in the office only with Treos, BlackBerry’s or Windows Mobile Devices you can set up a query system to your backend databases via SMS on any mobile device, smart or not. For example, you could check the stock on an item from a customer site using a simple SMS query.

Edioma – English as a second language (ESL) on your mobile phone. Series of games for you to learn English. Sounds simple and it is. But the ESL market is enormous and I’m amazed nobody is trying to capitalize on it. These guys are.

LG’s Venus and Voyager – There’s already been plenty of press on these two phones. I got a chance to see them. They’re both cool. The Voyager has the internal and external screen, mobile broadcast MediaFLO technology, and full keypad inside. The Venus has a series of soft buttons on the lower half of the screen.

Bluepulse – Mobile social networking. Whoop ‘de doo you say. And generally you’d be right, but this one actually hyper-simplifies the mobile social networking concept by putting all messaging (text, pictures, videos) into a single inbox and letting you reach friends via username, email address, and phone number. The reason they’ve been able to garner 3 million users in 10 months since launch is because to actually read a message from a friend you have to register with Bluepulse. What’s also impressive is this is fully a Web mobile application. No download necessary (anymore). The company claims it hasn’t found a Web-enabled phone that it can’t work on.

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