Highlights from the International CTIA Wireless 2011 conference

Highlights from the International CTIA Wireless 2011 conference

More than 40,000 people attended International CTIA Wireless 2011, which focused on the future of wireless and the best ways to integrate wireless technology and products into everyday life. Robert Mesirow, vice president of CTIA, said, “The mobile industry demonstrated its strength from new devices to aggressive mobile broadband plans to demonstrating global leadership.”

Sprint unveiled Drive First, a safe-driving solution that helps wireless consumers manage their mobile devices and focus on driving while behind the wheel. Created by Location Labs, Sprint Drive First locks the driver’s cell phone screen and redirects calls to voice mail when the car is in motion. The program also auto responds to text messages, allows parents to configure their teens mobile devices, and allows drivers continued access to key mobile applications, like GPS navigation.

TomTom launched Speed Cameras, a program that gives developers access to TomTom’s proprietary database of more than 50,000 speed trap warnings in 34 countries around the globe. Speed Cameras warns drivers when they approach cameras that enforce traffic laws, helping them drive more safely and avoid fines. TomTom also stomped out rumors that it was considering selling its mapping division.

Audi announced that T-Mobile USA will serve as the US wireless carrier for its
new Audi Connect system. T-Mobile will provide an enhanced, ruggedized SIM card that inserts into the Audi MMI Navigation Plus system. To facilitate easy activation, T-Mobile SIM cards will be included with the vehicle, allowing customers to sign up for a service plan at the time of vehicle sale or at any time during the six-month complimentary trial period.

TeleNav released its TeleNav GPS app to the Apple App Store as a free download for the iPhone 4. TeleNav GPS includes free maps and local search with more than 22 million Places that are automatically updated on an ongoing basis and include details like ratings, reviews, and merchant information. For the first 30 days after downloading, customers will also get complimentary access to advanced and personalized navigation features, such as spoken turn-by-turn directions and 3D moving maps.

TeleCommunication Systems announced an off-board navigational service to support Hyundai Blue Link, the car manufacturer’s new telematics platform. TCS’s system provides alternate routes based on the latest traffic conditions. With full sensor and GPS radio integration and navigation features like hybrid routing, the system will continue to operate in certain situations when cellular coverage is not available.

Airbiquity announced that it will provide data-over-voice technology for OnStar’s new retail product, OnStar FMV. The product goes on sale in North America in summer 2011. “With our underlying technology, OnStar continues to offer an innovative and cost-effective range of services to drivers,” says David Jumpa, Airbiquity’s senior vice president of global business development. “Adding OnStar to a car is now as quick and easy as installing a new rear-view mirror.”

In non-CTIA-Wireless news, France’s National Commission on Information Technology and Liberty fined Google €100,000 for violating French data privacy laws. The Commission charges that for many years Google has been collecting technical data over unsecured Wi-Fi networks and recording personal data (IDs, passwords, login details, and email exchanges revealing information on health and sexual orientation) without the knowledge of the individuals.

US Senators sent a letter to Apple requesting that the Apple App Store alter or remove apps that offer real-time, crowd-sourced updates on police checkpoints for drunk driving. The letter called out apps like “Trapster” and “PhantomAlert” and called them “harmful to public safety.” Following the announcement of the letter, downloads of the named apps increased by more than 2,000 percent.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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