CES News: Mobile Apps Preview

Despite a recession, general worries about the economy and even growing tensions in the Middle East – well, put simply the show must go on. And in this case it is the Consumer Electronics Show. So while this reporter expects to see less news about 150-inch plasma TVs (like the one Panasonic rolled out a year ago), there should be plenty of news on the mobile handset front.

As the big show starts up today I’ve already heard of a few interesting apps that will be unveiled this week. Who needs the latest handset when these make every mobile phone seem even smarter:

Shortcovers – is an online and mobile service that gives readers instant access to books, popular magazines and blogs. So rather than playing another game of Tetris or Bubble Burst you can use that phone to actually catch up on your reading.

Truphone – This U.K.-based company is rolling out its VOIP technology to the iPhone and even the iPod Touch! The benefit is low-priced international calls, even if you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot. But what has me really impressed is that the technology has been used to transform Apple’s mobile music player into a VOIP mobile phone.

ITMP’s SMHEART LINK – this wireless bridge can easily transform an iPhone (or even an iPod Touch) into a heart monitor or cycling computer. For those who take fitness seriously, you know there is always one more device to bring, and this could mean getting more with less.

Social Networking – If 2008 was the year that social networking (as in Facebook, YouTube, MySpace) became part of every day life, look for it to make the jump to the mobile in a big way in 2009. We expect to see a lot of news on the social networking front come out of Vegas with an emphasis on how this networking will go mobile.

Of course the big news on the mobile front this year could be the new Palm mobile operating system known so far as Nova. Rumor on the street is that in addition to the Nova OS, Palm could be unveiling a new device this week that will run the new OS. We’ll be sure to watch this very closely.

And if the big news isn’t Nova OS, then it could just be about a Zune phone. While it is hard to think that the timing would be good for such an announcement, given the recent problem that Zune users had with the leap section just days ago on New Year’s Day, don’t rule out Microsoft’s attempt to enter a new market.

Check back for a full CES mobile recap.