What ' s Hot at CTIA? Social Networking for Starters

CTIA seemed a bit quiet yesterday, but granted that was a day before the show floor opened. I'm glad I was around yesterday because I got the chance to see some really cool stuff - in addition to the nano-chromatics announced by Apple. For those of you who didn't see the new Nano's, there were some cool new additions. One of my favorites was use of the accelerometer - you shake the iPod and it shuffles. Hopefully, this functionality will come over to the iPhone. I'd like to train my iPhone with some simple gestures to dial, hang up, look up where my friends are, etc. So much fun potential lies ahead.

Aside from Apple, Verizon, Intercasting and Yahoo! all had some announcements around social networking. I just published some research on social networking opportunities for operators and handset manufacturers (it's posted on our site). There is also a summary in RCR.

Social Networking applications can be addictive, and they are not just for twenty-something's. Our research shows that those who use social networks online frequently have much higher data usage and buy more mobile applications than others their age or other cell phone users. Right now, it's mostly about "following" activities with some communication and "sharing."

Aggregation of feeds is a good first step, but there is so much more potential if someone (a carrier? an infrastructure player? an online media company? a handset ODM?) can put together the pieces to leverage the PIM, network intelligence, handset capabilities, online media consumption, communication behaviors, etc. Putting the infrastructure in place such as Verizon is doing with Intercasting is a good move.

I also saw Yahoo's OneConnect on the iPhone. They take aggregation a step further with integration of Yahoo! contacts and communication apps. It's really well done.

Have had a sneak preview of some other applications and devices coming through the pipeline - I'm beginning to see some consumer experiences that are very compelling and likely to drive adoption.

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