TVs and smartphones steal the spotlight at IFA
This year's IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin offered smartphones, tablets, 4K TVs, a much-anticipated smartwatch, and new spins on the camera.
Consumer electronics manufacturers from all over the world headed to the annual expo, which is as much a launch pad for products ahead of the year-end sales period as it is a chance to strut their tech stuff with the latest developments by their engineers.
Samsung launched a new version of the Galaxy Note as well the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, while Sony showed its new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z1. Both had been the subject of rumors and leaks before IFA began, so their appearance was expected.
The Gear, which has a 1.6-inch screen, was met with mixed reactions. Some liked its futuristic functionality while others were reserving judgement on the new product sector until the devices become smaller and offer more functions.
Cameras have come to play a more important role as smartphone makers try to differentiate their products. The Note 3 and the Liquid S2 from Acer can both record 4K Ultra HD videos using their 13-megapixel cameras. While Sony has put a 20.7-megapixel sensor in the Xperia Z1.
The Liquid S2 has a 6-inch screen and will compete with the Note 3, which has a 5.7-inch display, and other products from the likes of LG Electronics and Sony. The number of phones with screens in the 5-inch class or larger continues to grow as some consumers are warming to the large displays.
Sony also showed an interesting new take on the digital camera with its QX10 and QX100 "lens cameras." They are essentially compact digital still cameras without screens and control buttons. Instead of a camera body they are attached to the back of Android-based smartphones and iPhones, which provide the viewfinder and camera controls.
TVs have long been a key part of IFA, and this year was no different. LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sony and other vendors all showed 4K, OLED, and curved TVs of various sizes. But precious few will be able to afford sets like 77-inch Ultra HD curved OLED TV.