Sunday, September 16, 2012

IFA 2012: Thoughts and Opinions (part 1)

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This review is a little bit late already, but I wanted to share my experience attending the IFA 2012 show, and more than talking about showcased gadgets (which you will find a lot more information online and just by following the links included in this post), I wanted to share my impressions and opinions on Europe’s biggest consumer electronics show.
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First of all, I must say I was disappointed to see so many crappy companies selling the same useless (or maybe not) accessories for Apple products. I understand that there might be some cool waterproof covers, or a different colour you might want for your iPhone back-cover, but this was IFA 2012! Isn’t it supposed to be a showcase of the latest technologies and devices on the market? There were dozens of companies selling the same stuff all over the place, kind of like a souvenirs hall in an airport for last minute gifts. Really bad first impression I must say. I hope they cut down the amount of crap-parasite products next year.
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The only cool thing I saw on this area was the iRig products, which allow musicians to record and produce music on the go, connecting live instruments to iRig gadgets, which in turn use an iPhone or an iPad to record and playback what you are playing.
IMG_4016Once you get past the small parasite companies, you get into the bigger halls where companies try to impress customers and display the latest gadgets. IFA 2012 was mostly about television technologies with a massive array of different televisions devices, including OLED and 3D displays. One important fact to notice is that despise the fact that hardware is progressing amazingly on this area, the software empowering the TVs is still quite poor. There were several companies, including Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic, Vestel, Philips and LG, displaying all kind of different television displays. The most impressive displays that I was able to see were mostly from Samsung and LG, where the slim OLED TVs caught everybody’s breath.
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Many were also pushing the concept of Smart TVs, TVs able to use basic cameras and poor sensors to provide a “smarter” connected TV experience. Personally I think that for the price you will have to pay (in the $3K range) you will be better off buying a flat screen with an Xbox or a PS3 system. That will give you a better experience, content, entertainment hub and will still save you money. There were some TVs able to run Android apps and share content with Android devices, but the interfaces seemed quite sluggish and  poor.
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3D technology was also a main topic, and there was a lot of different displays, including a massive array of 3D screens in the entrance of the LG hall, 2D to 3D conversion demonstrations in the LG gaming area. Honestly, I don’t get the fuzz about 3D TV technology. I know that is cool to see a 3D movie from time to time, but the 3D glasses always feel uncomfortable and after a couple of hours you start to get your eyes tired.
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I don’t think 3D TVs is something that I would get for my main TV, and the 3D TVs being displayed are way to expensive to consider them just a cool secondary TV in case you feel like watching a movie or a TV show in 3D. Nevertheless, I had the change to play StarCraft 2 in 3D which was kind of cool.
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By the way, I was expecting a lot more gaming focused halls as you can expect from CES, but I was disappointed to see that gaming was not a paid a lot of attention at IFA. Acer had a booth, same as Toshiba dedicated to gaming PCs, but failed to provide an engaging or innovative experience.
The next part of the post is more about monitors, touch displays, retail displays, tablets and computers, plus my conclusions on IFA 2012. Make sure to check it out!

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