The 6 Biggest Trends from IFA 2015 in Berlin, Germany
Trade Show Buzz
Europe’s biggest electronics show, the Internationale Funkausstellung, or IFA 2015, just wrapped up in Berlin on September 7. As happens at all trade shows, the future of consumer electronics was previewed through displays of new and upgraded products. It was bright, it was dizzying, and it was enlightening!
Amid all the new devices and promises of faster, better, and more automated things to come, there were lots of emerging trends in tech. Here are six of the big trends from IFA 2015.
1. The Year of the Smartwatch
What Pebble started and the Apple Watch made mainstream, IFA 2015 had in spades. We’re talking about smartwatches, and there was no shortage of wrist-worn accoutrements that can do a whole lot more than simply tell time.
On display were models like the Sony Wena watch, a beautiful metallic disc on a band with built-in sensors and an NFC chip for cardless payments. There was Chinese manufacturer’s Huawei’s watch, with a 1.2 GHz dual Snapdragon processor and a stunning, round AMOLED display.
Motorola had its Moto 360 watch out. It’s a fashion forward model with lots of options for finishes and straps, and consumers can buy a big 42mm model or an even bigger 46mm one — the phablet of the smartwatch world, you might say. Finally, there was the Samsung Gear S2, a big round orb that looks like it fell from outer space, affixed to a band and all ready for your trembling wrist.
2. Also, the Year of the Smarthome
Smarthome components were everywhere at IFA 2015, with many of the larger electronics manufacturers making their presence known in this field. Samsung displayed its full line of SmartThings, which included appliances, plugs, light switches, locks, smart cameras, and more to create your own personal IoT (that’s Internet of Things) for your home. The company also debuted its Sleep Sense, a smart sleep tracker that measures heart rate, breathing and movement to analyse your slumber patterns and also syncs with other smarthome elements.
LG showed off its Smart ThinQ platform for connecting all of your home’s appliances, and Acer also had its new Build Your Own Smarthome platform available for inspection.
Individual smarthome products were also a hit. Sony had its new Qrio smart lock, Withings had its Connected alarm clock (like a scaled back Aura with a more reasonable price tag), Philips had its line of Hue smart light bulbs, and Smarter had its smart coffee machine. Clearly, home automation is a hot trend!
Additional Reading: Smart Home Security Products: The Best Smart Door Locks
3. 4K, OLED, and Curved TVs
To take your television and binge watching experiences to the next, high definition level, there were all sorts of screens on display from big name manufacturers like Samsung and LG. Philips got in on the action too, proudly showing off its AmbiLux projection TV. And of course, there wasn’t just one of any screen — there were lots of screens, all arranged in eye catching formations.
Sony also had a brand new projector on hand to check out. It’s a short throw, meaning it doesn’t need a lot of room to create a big image. In this new projector’s case, it can throw a 100 inch 1080p image from just 38 centimetres away. If that doesn’t sound impressive to you, measure 38cm and then measure 100 inches and try to visualise the set up. This is a pretty incredible device.
4. Smart Keyboards
This category is a small one, but it’s still worth a mention here because of some cool new products with useful features. LG showed off its Rolly Keyboard that, true to its name, rolls up when not in use. It’s BlueTooth enabled, and it wakes up its paired device (like a tablet or phablet) when it’s unrolled.
Also deserving of a mention is Logitech’s new BlueTooth keyboard that can pair with and toggle between up to three devices at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking!
5. Cool New Computers
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen much innovation in desktop computers, so it was good to see some forward thinking in this department at IFA 2015. Acer displayed its Revo Build, a modular computer that comes together by snapping on new parts and connecting them using magnetic pins. If you’re old enough to remember wiring together stereo components for the grooviest hifi, this computer from Acer is like the contemporary equivalent.
Lenovo also showed off a line of PCs aimed specifically at gamers, perhaps in an attempt to put something out there that’s more powerful and more functional than a console. The company also had its ThinkCentre Tiny micro computer out for inspection; it’s a micro desktop with macro capabilities.
6. Tablets are Still Relevant
Despite the onslaught of phablets over the last two years (such as Lenovo’s Phab, which was also on display at IFA 2015), the tablet market isn’t dead yet. It is slowing down quite a bit, though, and manufacturers have been forced to find new and innovative ways to keep this genre relevant. Acer’s answer is a gaming tablet — yes, it’s designed specifically for gaming. It’s thin and lightweight, with an eight inch display, a zippy Intel Atom X7 processor, and four speakers for virtual surround sound.
Even better, though, is the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro. Sure, it’s got a quad core Intel Atom processor and two gigabytes of RAM, but the coolest feature of this one is its built in projector. Yes: a tablet with a built in projector! And, it can throw a 70 inch image, allowing you to go from personal binge viewing to total binge party in just seconds. This one is a fantastic development that could definitely renew some interest in the sluggish tablet market.
Justify the Hype
IFA 2015 is a consumer trade show, and it’s all about hype, hype, and more hype. In fact, it’s often difficult to cut through the manufactured excitement and see the forest for the trees, so to speak. However, it’s hard to miss the key trends that have come out of this exciting show.
Many of the products showcased at IFA 2015 will go on to become commercial success stories. Others, however, are more conceptual, less practical, and ridiculously expensive, and may therefore not sell well with the general public. It will definitely be interesting to compare notes in a year or two to see what’s taken off.