Tech Check

Wireless Is Tech's "Best" Sector--Here's Why

Rested, relaxed, and now raring to go. Two back-to-back weeks off is a rare treat in this business and we made the most of our time off, but talk about jumping back into the swing of things with a vengeance!

I'm in the office for a couple of hours today, and then getting right back on a plane to attend the big CTIA Wireless expo in Las Vegas, and this show promises to be a tech investor's candy store.

Wireless continues to be tech's most promising sector with so many of the key players beaten down by momentum players turning a blind eye toward the innovation and product releases by some of the biggest companies. Since I've been away, Research in Motion has seen a renaissance of sorts, trading above $116 this morning ahead of the company's earnings news scheduled for this Wednesday, and the report will be absolutely key. Analysts continue to call RIM the best story in tech.

The Street is looking for 74 cents on $1.86 billion, but the company's own guidance of 80 to 82 cents and whispers far ahead of that, could send this stock soaring. Of course, beyond the regular numbers, the Street always pays attention to hardware sales and subscription numbers, with some analysts anticipating as many as 2.5 million new BlackBerry users, though many are hovering around 2 million.

At the same time, there's bullish sentiment surrounding Verizon and AT&T   , as well as Nokiaand Apple . In fact, Charter Equity says a big Nokia contract with Verizon should drive shares in both companies. In fact, the firm says Nokia's new 1XRTT phones could increase its share from 1 percent of the 33 million phones Verizon sells to a staggering 10 percent by year end. The big growth, the firm says, will come at the expense of Motorola which is more bad news for a company that can ill afford it. At the same time, several analysts say Nokia's new partnership with AT&T could double the number of Nokia phones that AT&T offers. All of this spells big problems for Qualcomm and potentially very good news for Broadcom .

Further, the debate continues to rage over just how successful Apple's iPhone is, and will be by year's end. Despite repeated calls by the company that Apple will meet its stated goal of 10 million units sold this year, there's a healthy amount of skepticism that it won't happen. But weeks ahead of Apple's own earnings report, I'm hearing rumblings that the company's move to 3G versions of the phone as early as May could help the company exceed its stated sales goals, not miss them. And while Apple doesn't attend CTIA, you can bet that iPhone--how to compete with it, how to partner with it--will be a big theme at the show.

So keep it tuned to CNBC and also this blog: I'll be sitting down with Microsoft'sRobbie Bach, Virgin Mobile's Richard Branson and I'll post the highlights here. Also, there seems to be a big push toward WiMax enabled phones and that could be a huge and surprising boost to Intel, a company that abandoned the mobile phone market just a few years ago. This is one of the key themes we'll examine on Tuesday. This should be a good show, and it comes at a good time for the industry. It'll be interesting to see how investors react to what should be a flood of wireless headlines coming from Vegas this week. Running to catch my flight. Very good to be back.

Questions?  Comments?