What do you do if you're covering the final spring CTIA event in Las Vegas, at which not a single major mobile manufacturer has a booth, the only real hardware releases came from Kyocera (which is very much trying to get a foothold in the smartphone space, and good on them for doing it), and the only major operator news came from ... Jennifer Lopez?
Yeah, that was our week in Vegas. It'd be easy to bitch and moan about it being a "slow" show. But then again it'd be easier (and far, far cheaper) to not have come in the first place. So we did what we do -- we cover what we can see, and search for things we can't. In fact, it almost becomes a bit of a game among the press. With no pressure to be "first," it's a test to see who can dig up something to write.
We had three of us here, which probably was two too many. The An(n)drews, as I've taken to calling them -- Anndrew Vacca and Andrew Martonik -- did fine work while I mostly tended to some #TM13 duties. But then came Verizon's announcement, which pretty much was the only thing we knew we had to be at. We had no idea what it was going to be, but it was the only real press invite of the week. So, we went. And what did we get? The one and only Jennifer Lopez standing about 20 feet away, awkwardly squinting into a large teleprompter, launching Viva Movil, which promises a better mobile shop shopping experience aimed at Latinos. A fine proposition, I think, and I've got nothing against marketing to certain demographics. (For those decrying the move as racist, every marketing campaign is racist. And sexist. And takes age and prosperity into consideration. Welcome to the real world.)
The next morning, after a good portion of the attendees had cleared out (to say nothing of most of the press), Ashton Kutcher had a little fireside chat with CNBC's Julia Boorstin. It was interesting, if a bit rambling, but on the whole not the worst way to spend an hour.
Readers' reactions were interesting, though. It's nice that folks worry about us wasting our time -- and it happens, sure -- but this is our job, after all. There was so much more gnashing of teeth over the Verizon/Jennifer Lopez announcement (which really had less to do with Verizon, since it's a silent player in all this) and less talk of Ashton Kutcher's 60 minutes on stage, which was filled with great quotes and (surprise, surprise) even a few insights. It's easier to get upset than parse, I guess.
Me? I was just stoked to have taken some of the best liveblog pictures in my career. Maybe I'm finally getting more comfortable with it. Or maybe it helped having them closer and well-lit.
And now, a few other thoughts:
- Can we just get this damned white Nexus 4 out the door already? I couldn't care less that it's white, or that there's "ZOMG MORE CONFIRMATION IT EXISTS." Yes. It's real. We've all seen it. And it's the OS that's on it that's of greater importance.
- 10 million Galaxy S4s sold in a month? Holy cow. Remember, that's worldwide.
- And I have a feeling that the reported 5 million HTC Ones sold -- assuming the WSJ's correct with that number; HTC's not saying -- isn't as low a number as we might think.
- Alex Dobie did a nice job presenting the questions posed by a potential "Googlized" HTC One. I still think folks (and blogs) like to make a bigger deal out of these than they really are -- and Google's probably plenty happy for that, actually.
- @HuffPoSpoilers may be the greatest Twitter account ever.
- The new Queens of the Stone Age record is pretty killer, as is the animation for the streaming preview. It's great to see bands embrace streaming before the launch date.
- See? Daft Punk is hardly the first band to ever to it.
- DoCoMo's "Translater Phone" is pretty slick.
- It's pretty amazing how quickly Google has implemented Google+ into so many of its other products. Some of that is branding, but a lot of that is integrating the tech.
- Speaking of Google Plus, HTC Zoes -- those are the 3-second videos and 20 or so still images -- work pretty great with the new Auto Awesome feature on Google+. It takes a few of those still images (not the video) and makes a little animated gif out of them. It's a really quick and easy way to do it. And with it I've seen continued confusion over what a Zoe is.
Everybody in the states have a safe Memorial Day holiday on Monday.