IFA 2019 – Key Trends from Europe’s biggest Consumer Electronics Show
Long days, longer nights, sore feet and portable chargers – last week the Brands2Life consumer team spent a few days at IFA 2019, one of Europe’s biggest consumer electronics trade shows getting hands on with weird and wonderful tech from all over the world. From connected home appliances that will tell you which shelf your Pinot Noir is on in your wine cooler, to drift shoes (one thing we can’t see catching on – although everyone attempted to master them!), we’ve put together our highlights of the show.
Samsung’s original launch of the Fold didn’t exactly go to plan. Issues with the protective screen and hinge, among other things, put the brakes on the general release. However, months later, Samsung were back at IFA with an updated version.
While most of the changes won’t be obvious to those who didn’t get hands-on with the original, the latest version was well received by those lucky enough to get a demo in Samsung’s hall. People waited patiently to get a glimpse of the phone in IFA’s CityCube. At $2,000 it’s unlikely the Fold will be in everyone’s pocket anytime soon, but it will certainly be viewed as a pioneer in years to come.
The halls of IFA were awash with e-scooters, much like the streets of Berlin. While they still face regulatory difficulties in the UK, it’s clear to see their benefits and it’ll surely only be a matter of time until there’ll be another group of commuters sharing London’s roads. Assuming they face the same issues as bike sharing companies have with vandalism and theft, it’ll be interesting to see how the first entrants to the UK fair.
Nostalgia never fails. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Walkman, Sony rebooted the iconic design – well, sort of. While cassettes are hot on the heels of vinyls in making a comeback, the latest iteration of the Walkman doesn’t actually play tapes. It certainly attracted a lot of attention at the stand – even with the £400 price tag – but nonetheless it’s a nicely designed piece from Sony. Maybe they’re saving the full retro version for the 50th anniversary. We’ll definitely be saving up for this one.
Many of the home appliance giants are releasing their own smart gardens – units which are able to provide automated light, irrigation and nutrients. Bosch had some particularly brilliant ones called SmartGrow. Creating growing conditions for the salad leaves or herbs you usually grow on your windowsill, the smart gardens are ideal for those wanting to reduce their food miles or just fancy getting their techy fingers green. They’re of course all managed through an app, meaning you can manage how your salad grows from the office. These will definitely be going mainstream in the next few months as we all become more mindful of the provenance of our grub.
Samsung, Hisense and Philips were showing off some incredibly impressive 8K TVs, however Sharp’s 120” 8K LCD was the most striking. If you’re one of the few people who has a room that could fit this beast, we’d certainly like to pop round and watch the weekend’s football on it. Not content with being the world’s biggest 8K LCD TV, the TV also has 5G connectivity (another huge show theme). It obviously makes it ideal for streaming, but Sharp see it as an ideal way of displaying high quality art. Samsung also showed off its QLED Art Mode TV, The Frame, with an impressive list of art partnerships including TATE, Saatchi Art, Van Gogh Museum and Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Ciao… until next time
It was another cracking IFA – amazing hospitality and a great city. It’s good to see the show is just as busy and noisy as ever. Berlin, see you next year!
By Natalie Godsell, Practice Director, Consumer