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Originally published March 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 26, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Wireless firms to show off their latest at convention

Once a year, U.S. wireless companies gather under one roof to talk about the latest trends, show off the newest devices and try to steal...

Seattle Times technology reporter

Once a year, U.S. wireless companies gather under one roof to talk about the latest trends, show off the newest devices and try to steal the spotlight by releasing what they think will change the industry.

CTIA Wireless 2007 is no different, with more than 40,000 people expected to pack the 400,000-square-foot convention center in Orlando, Fla., for three days starting Tuesday.

Some of the show's headlining keynote appearances include Pieter Knook, senior vice president of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business; Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive of Research in Motion; Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman; and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Also expected is Howie Mandel, host of the hit TV show "Deal or No Deal."

More than 20 companies from the Puget Sound area are expected to make the cross-country trip to unveil new products and services.

They include: Inrix, Mixxer, HTC, Ontela, VoiceBox, Action Engine, SinglePoint, RadioFrame Networks, thePlatform, Tegic Communications, Vidiator, UIEvolution, Volantis, Qpass and OpenMarket, T-Mobile USA, Microsoft, SNAPin, InfoSpace, RealNetworks, Junxion, M:Metrics, Microvision and Melodeo, among others.

The show, hosted by the wireless-industry trade association CTIA, has expanded over the years from the science of making phone calls to new wireless applications to entertainment. The change corresponds with the industry's maturity.

For instance, CTIA said that as of September, there were more than 220 million cellphone subscribers in the U.S., covering more than 72 percent of the population. In the first six months of 2006, those subscribers used 857 billion minutes, sent 64.8 billion text messages and accounted for $60.5 billion in revenues.

CTIA Wireless 2007


Attendees Estimated 40,000.

Where Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

When Tuesday-Thursday.

Keynotes Pieter Knook, senior vice president of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business; Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive of Research in Motion; Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman; Randall Stephenson, chief operating officer of AT&T; Orange CEO Sanjiv Ahuja; Visa CEO John Philip Coghlan; EMI CEO Eric Nicoli; former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton; and TV personality Howie Mandel.

Space 400,000 square feet.

Source: CTIA

This year, CTIA said the convention will focus on at least five major themes:

• The quadruple play: Carriers combining wireless phones, landlines, TV and Internet access to create new applications and provide a discount to the consumer.

• Enterprise: Giving employees mobile devices so that they can work outside the office.

• Entertainment: Providing access to TV, music, games and more. Mobile content is a hot topic.

• Social networks and communities: Riding the popularity of MySpace, YouTube and others, connecting friends on mobile devices when they are away from their PCs.

• Advertising: Carriers looking to replace revenue with other potential sources. Advertising may also subsidize the cost of providing content on the mobile phone.

Seattle's RealNetworks is making two announcements today before the show officially starts.

In September, at the smaller of the two CTIA annual conferences, Real said it was buying WiderThan, a South Korean wireless-infrastructure provider, for $350 million. Through that acquisition, Real is announcing that it will be providing a music service for Rogers Wireless and Helio.

Rogers, Canada's largest carrier, will use WiderThan to launch a music store that provides the option of paying for each song or a subscription service in which an unlimited number of songs can be downloaded to the mobile phone or the PC.

Helio, a wireless-branded operator running on the Sprint network through a joint venture between SK Telecom in South Korea and EarthLink, will use WiderThan for music downloads and ringback tones, a song that is played when someone waits for a call to be answered.

One feature of the Helio service will be a "Gift" or "Buy" feature that will allow a subscriber to ask another Helio user to buy you a song, or one to be a gift.

thePlatform, another Seattle company, is announcing that it will be managing Helio's portfolio of mobile video content. Helio's video providers will use thePlatform's technology to upload, schedule and manage video being provided to their subscribers.

thePlatform, which also provides the service to Amp'd Mobile and Verizon Wireless, is owned by Comcast.

Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or tduryee@seattletimes.com

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