The homogenization of the mobile industry – thanks to CTIA

I’m here in San Diego and feel a little less mobile, a little less enthusiastic, a little less entrepreneurial and it’s all thanks to this debacle of a conference and outdated gathering of mobile “leaders” called CTIA.

Pretty harsh I know but, really LG, the Internet fridge? Seriously. I thought that was a meme. Walking the floor here is a long line of sameness: Monitor your enterprise smartphones, buy a waterproof keyboard, use your tablet as a pad of paper, have your mobile devices speak to you, pay with this, pay with that but don’t forget to pay for your WiFi access at the same time.

I’m not sure what I was expecting – being so emotionally attached to this space made me hope (perhaps foolishly) that the industry would sound off on the oldness CTIA seems to exude. Carriers giving the keynotes, booth babes and humdrum hardware make for a quick and painfully uncomfortable walk around the show floor and out the front door.

What could they do? This conference is so big, so entrenched that it would be hard to change the way things work here and as long as deals are done that the excuse of CTIA enables it will continue. But the feedback I’ve heard from other attendees is the same: I come to meet the 6 people I need to and then get out as fast as possible – sounds like a show I’d like to have as the poster child for our industry.

I think I’ll stick to the value shows – GigaOm’s Mobilize for example. There is passion with every speaker and energetic conversations everywhere and a sincere desire to push the industry forward.

I hope this incarnation of CTIA isn’t a reality check for the mobile industry.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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