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CTIA Fall 2011 Preview: Samsung's Big Reveal and What Else to Expect

The CTIA Enterprise & Applications event in San Diego kicks off Oct 11th, and it will attract 15,000 people looking for the next big things in wireless. From developers and carriers to device makers and journalists, the biggest buzz at the show will likely be the industry's reaction to the iPhone 5. But its clear that the competition isn't standing still. Here are the top 5 things to watch at the fall CTIA show.

1. Samsung Unpacking Ice Cream Sandwich and Droid Prime?

The invite says a lot. On Oct 11th at 11:30 am PDT, Samsung is holding an event at CTIA called Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2011. And it promises to give us "a look at what's new from Android." The optimist inside us says that Samsung will unveil the Droid Prime/Nexus Prime running the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which is supposed to combine a lot of the elements of Gingerbread with the more tablet-centric Honeycomb. If this leaked Ice Cream Sandwich video is legit, users have a lot to be excited about, especially if the software is paired with an HD screen and Verizon's 4G LTE connectivity as expected. Stay tuned for our live coverage from the event.

2. Wireless CEO Face Off: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon CEOs Take the Stage

The preview for the Day One keynote at CTIA Enterprise & Applications reads a tad too tame. "The return of the titans—This powerhouse group of CEOs will take center stage providing attendees with dynamic insights from the carrier community, including how the success of the U.S. wireless industry has aided the country's position as the world leader in 4G wireless technologies." Lets hope that AT&T's Ralph de la Vega, Sprint's Dan Hesse, and Verizon Wireless Dan Mead also debate the proposed AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile, which has come under a lot of scrutiny. We also hope that the trio will discuss the state of data plans and whether we're finally moving towards a day where customers can pay a flat fee for 3G/4G connectivity across multiple devices (no a mobile hotspot doesn't count).

3. HTC Vigor/Incredible HD Could Surface

If you haven't heard of the Vigor, you will. It's HTC's answer to the Motorola Droid Bionic, reportedly sporting a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor, full HD screen (1280 x 720 pixels) and 4G LTE data from Verizon. The Vigor could also wind up being called the Incredible HD, so we'll have to see what the final moniker might be. While this handset is similar to the HTC Amaze 4G for T-Mobile, the Vigor supposedly adds Beats Audio for richer sound. HTC didn't invest $300 million in Beats Audio for nothing. Right now rumors have the Vigor launching in early October, so we have a feeling this device could break cover at CTIA.

4. AMEX to Build on Google Wallet's Momentum

Mobile payments has just been hype for years, but our tests of Google Wallet prove that tapping to pay can be easy in the real world. The problem for Google is that thus far only MasterCard has signed on as an official partner, although the company has licensed NFC specs for American Express, Discover, and Visa. Will AMEX join the party October 12th? That's when Dan Schulman, group president for enterprise growth at American Express, will take the stage for the Day Two keynote at CTIA. Or maybe Schulman will shed more light on AMEX's involvement in ISIS, a competing solution to Google Wallet that's backed by three out of the big four carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon).

5. A New Frontier for Smartphone Security

One of the big trends at CTIA Enterprise & Applications is the consumerization of IT, which means that more and more workers are bringing their personal devices to work. That's a challenge for CIOs and IT managers, who must find a way to help workers maximize productivity while protecting sensitive corporate data. At the show we'll be meeting with a handful of companies who are tackling this trend head on, including Enterproid, whose Divide platform provides separate and secure profiles for work and play. We'll also be checking out Nukona, which provides businesses with their own branded app stores.