He may have referred to his BlackBerry as a "dumbass Crackberry," but legendary music producer Quincy Jones has long been known for embracing technological innovation - the electronic Fender bass, the synthesizer and the Internet (he started his own online show last summer). That's why the 74-year-old producer of Michael Jackson's best-selling album "Thriller" was asked to host yesterday's Billboard Mobile Entertainment Live, an all-day symposium on the entertainment and wireless industries, and the opening act for this week's CTIA show in San Francisco.
Over the next three days, several big names are expected to take the stage at the biannual wireless conference: Microsoft's (MSFT) Steve Ballmer and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are keynote speakers, to name a few. The show, officially called CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2007, brings together companies like Motorola (MOT), Nokia and AT&T (T) as well as smaller startups. Mobile music and advertising are expected to be two big themes this year.
Although it starts Tuesday morning, some companies were busy making announcements ahead of the conference on Monday: AT&T, for example, unveiled an upcoming music service with Napster. Look for new device launches from several companies (including T-Mobile) as well throughout the show.
As for Quincy Jones, he won't be around the rest of the week, but he did have some parting words in a one-on-one interview after his keynote at Monday's Billboard event:
"This is truly the information age," he said. "But what's yet to come will blow your mind."
That's not likely to happen at this year's CTIA, of course, but maybe in the future.