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Forget Desktops and Laptops, Consumers Want Smartphones

I am off to the CTIA Wireless Conference in Las Vegas. Not only do I get to interview James Cameron and Biz Stone, I get to see all the great new technology at the sweet spot of the next business battleground—your phone.

Blackberry Storm
AP
Blackberry Storm

(By the way, you’ll be able to watch that roundtable discussion with Cameron and Stone live on CNBC.com Thursday March 25 at 9:30am ET)

No one is interested in the PC or laptops or desktops anymore. Every company has a target on smartphones.

When I interviewed the CEO of Acer while in Vancouver (they were an Olympic sponsor) I asked him why he was bothering to manufacture phones.

He said it had nothing to do with phones, but everything to do with the assumption that the computer and the phone converge and he wants his company to be at the center of computing.

Google has made it obvious they want to be there too, with the launch of their Android-platform phones. They’ve seen mobile search traffic quintuple in the last two years. They’re no fools, they know the next big wave of search revenue comes from that thing in your pocket, not the thing on your desk.

The Wireless Connection - CTIA Wireless 2010 - See the Complete Coverage
The Wireless Connection - CTIA Wireless 2010 - See the Complete Coverage

One thing to note, the company that has thus far captured the largest part of the battleground, Apple , doesn’t even bother to show up at this conference. That makes some people mad. Some think its insulting to the industry. But when you are the lead dog, how much time do you want to spend looking over your shoulder? Doesn’t bother me a bit, though I’d love to interview Steve Jobs someday.

Of course, everyone awaits the iPad, and wonders whether it will be as revolutionary as the iPod and the iPhone. That will be a topic of discussion for the many interviews we will be doing at CTIA.

We’ve got the White House’s Chief Technology Officer on the "Power Lunch" Thursday. What ia the administration going to do so that wireless companies can have more space on the cyber-highway and we can actually download data faster on our phones?

The current infrastructure is creaking under the weight of the data being sent by individuals because the industry was allotted space on the highway based on old models of phones. They need more than a two-lane road.

Here’s who else my colleague Jim Goldman and I will be speaking with:

  • John Stanton, the founder of Trilogy International Partners & 2010 CTIA keynote speaker. He will be talking about the mobile wallet and the rise of wireless in sub-frontier markets, such as Haiti and Bolivia (Wednesday)
  • Rich Wong, venture capitalist with Accel Partners. He will give us the "Wireless in 2010" outlook (Wednesday)
  • Selina Lo, CEO of Ruckus Wireless (Wednesday).
  • Sprint Nextel 4G President Matt Carter (Wednesday)
  • Aneesh Chopra, White House Chief Technology Officer & CTIA keynote speaker (Thursday)
  • Steve Largent, CTIA CEO (Thursday)
  • Iñaki Urdangarín, US Chairman of Telefónica Internacional
  • Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets
  • René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom CEO
  • Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco

Be sure to look for our coverage from CTIA Wireless 2010 on-air and online, Tuesday March 23 through Thursday March 25, including a special edition of "Power Lunch" on Wednesday March 24.

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