September means only one thing for the consumer electronics industry: the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA). This year the German capital welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors and nearly 2,000 exhibitors to what is widely regarded as the world’s largest trade show of its kind. As always, sturdy footwear was a must to roam the 200,000 square metres of exhibition floor.
Here’s a quick round-up of our key takeaways from the show this year:
1. What’s hot
The new Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone impressed. We were particularly surprised by the quality of the display and the seamless transition when apps switch between the large display and the front screen on closing the device. With the latest release it’s hard to see any difference in display quality at the fold. However, it remains to be seen how many consumers are willing to pay €2100 (minus a rebate when it comes with a subscription) and how suitable and durable it is for daily use.
LG’s roll-up 4k OLED TV is a TV with a difference. It’s stored rolled up in a discreet box and then comes out to play when you want to watch TV. Many consumers don’t want to have a large black rectangle as a focal point of their homes, and vendors are responding by offering screens that blend much better into their surroundings. Samsung, for example, has The Frame, which displays classic art works when the TV is switched off.
One of the highlights of IFA this year was the transparent OLED TV presented by Panasonic. This 55-inch TV prototype was designed in collaboration with Swiss furniture brand Vitra. When switched off it appears to be a clear glass cabinet into which pictures and ornaments can be placed. These disappear when the high-resolution display is switched on – turning it from a stylish wooden-framed cabinet to a cutting-edge TV.
We were also impressed with the new range of notebooks featuring the Intel Ice Lake 10th Generation processors. Many commentators at Computex 2019 doubted Intel’s promise that Ice Lake would really be available in autumn 2019 as the firm had problems with its 10nm generation processors. But at this year’s IFA both Acer and Lenovo presented their latest notebooks featuring the chips. Acer showed off the Swift 5 and Swift 3 series, while Lenovo updated its Yoga C940 model with the latest processor technology.
2. What’s not
8K TV displays did not seem worth the extra cost. In my view, the quality of 4K is already high and it’s hard to detect any great difference between these and the new 8K displays. It’s unlikely that consumers will pay double the price for the newer TVs.
The IFA exhibition hall itself. The trade show takes place mainly on two floors, sometimes three, and the signage inside the 40+ halls makes it easy to get lost, as we did on more than one occasion.
3. Bringing the industry together
IFA is not just a fantastic place to check-out the latest emerging consumer technologies, it’s also a great opportunity for industry stakeholders to get together, share stories and renew close working relationships. CONTEXT makes the most of this opportunity by hosting an informal dinner for manufacturers, ,retailers and distributors.
As IDG commented: “Those who want to do good business and align their business optimally need valid and reliable market figures. The CONTEXT IFA Dinner is a popular meeting place for CONTEXT’s manufacturers, distributors, and market researchers to discuss the state of the IT and consumer electronics industry.”
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the next show.
© CONTEXT 2019