With consumers more cautious than before about shelling out for new smartphones, vendors are hoping applications will help sales. As a result, they are turning to online stores to compete with Apple, which sells downloadable software, ranging from the practical to the ridiculous.
Carriers in turn hope the new applications will increase interest in data services and boost revenue -- though with the economy in tatters, a big debate is brewing over whether phone operators need to lower the price of data plans.
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is expected to officially launch its mobile application store at the show and Microsoft is expected to talk up its applications marketplace due out later this year.
Sprint Nextel will also demonstrate Palm's widely anticipated Pre phone, which is designed to stand out by making it easier for consumers to use multiple applications simultaneously.
What’s the trade?
I think the interesting thing to watch is what comes out of RIMM, says Pete Najarian. They have 3 new devices and earnings out on Thursday. It’s a stock that’s oversold. And I’d keep an eye on Palm.
Goldman said to buy RIMM ahead of earnings but if you do it’s at your own peril, counters Guy Adami. I think they got it wrong.
I'd keep an eye on Nokia, reminds Tim Seymour. They’re seeing growth from around the world. They’re head and shoulders above everyone else in China.
The CTIA wireless show will take place in Las Vegas from April 1-3.
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Trader disclosure: On Mar. 31st, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (GS), (SDS), (AAPL), (POT), (MOS), (SDS); Macke Is Short (BRK.s); Adami Owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE), (BTU); Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (FXI), (FCX), (TSO), (EEM), (TTM), (WBD); Najarian Owns (AAPL) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (BNI) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (HUM) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (MS) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (NTRS) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (PALM) & (PALM) Calls; Najarian Owns (POT) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (XHB) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (RIO) Calls; Najarian Owns (VCLK) Calls