NEW YORK (
) -- The recipe for any good tech show is five parts fantasy to one part reality. And sometimes, as we saw with a few shops at this year's CTIA mobile trade show in Orlando, that last part is optional.
There's nothing wrong with spinning fanciful tales about promising new tech opportunities; in fact, that's what these annual showcases are for. But in the rush to build big dreams, some ideas come untethered from actual consumer demand or nagging details like the existence of actual products.
Here are some of the biggest hype balloons: Mobile cloud,
Mobile Videoscape and 3D. All of these floated inside CTIA's conference and may not survive the sharp glare of sunlight outside the convention center.
No. 5: Mobile Cloud
CEO Hans Vesterberg got the show off to a lofty start during his
predicting that "by 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices on the network" including, of course, "washing machines and automobiles."
These connections are sort of important to Ericsson since it is the largest seller of wireless equipment in the world. So Vesterberg's task is simple: convince people that it is incredibly important to connect 50 billion future devices to something enormous. And what's bigger than the world's phone systems or the Internet? The cloud.
What's the cloud? Ericsson's own U.S. strategy chief Arpit Joshipura offered his take in a recent
. "The definition of cloud is up in the air," he joked.
So how big is the cloud? "It's huge," said Joshipura. "Ten times the opportunity of today. It's a huge, huge opportunity for all of us."
It seemed impossible, but the cloud is really starting to gain some hugely nebulous qualities.
No. 4: Cisco's Mobile Videoscape
Cisco first unveiled
in January at the CES show in Las Vegas. The idea was so big it occupied an entire animated color slide during CEO John Chambers' presentation. At the conclusion of the event, we asked Chambers why there was no hardware to go with Videoscape. He said Videoscape was a "platform."
Three months later, at CTIA, Cisco has taken that "platform" one step further and introduced Mobile Videoscape. And judging by the look of it, Mobile Videoscape also comes with a colorful and momentous slide.
Here's the thing. Cisco sells TV set-top boxes and network gear to cable and phone companies that sell video to subscribers. But the landscape is changing as people find shows they want on new devices available more cheaply from satellites and the Internet.
Cisco and the cable industry hasn't adapted well to this shift. But hey, Cisco's got some neat slides it wants to show you.
No. 3: HTC EVO 3D
planned third version of its popular EVO phone is, fittingly, 3D and therefore, an easy choice for the third spot on our dumb idea list.
The original EVO was a monumental phone for
. It was the first of the superphones with a 4.3 inch screen and faster 4G mobile technology. Then came the EVO slider for those hankering for the same phone plus a real keyboard.
And now comes the EVO 3D. The
Android-powered phone has two cameras on the back to capture three-dimensional video and a special display screen to play 3D video effects without needing to wear those awesome glasses.
Finally, the masses clamoring for a 3D video phone have had their prayers answered. No word, however from Sprint on the timing or price of this slice of 3D heaven.
No. 2: AT&T LG Thrill 3D
threw its own prototype 3D phone into ring at CTIA. The Thrill was introduced for
, but no price or availability time frame was announced.
Dual cameras on the back capture twin images and a special 3D display screen help make those videos jump out on the LG Thrill. Is it any surprise that a leading 3D TV maker like LG is eager to get the fire started under the 3D trend?
latest results showed last week, consumers aren't exactly
. Maybe LG is out to prove the same isn't true for the small screens.
No. 1: Mobile 3D
Stereoscopic 3D technology has been around since
. Or, as a compiler of a list like this might say, "3D has been a dumb idea for centuries."
The adaptation of 3D technology to mobile devices is sort of new and wonderfully predictable. And like 3D film, the visual effects of 3D phones provide an eyeful of dazzle. But the new devices don't really change the whole 3D story.
Smartphone sales seem to be doing pretty well without the 150-year-old visual trick.
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