The Internationale Funkaustellung aka IFA 2018 is almost at the end as far as the major keynote announcements go. The show will be open to the public till 5 September, but all the major product launches and related keynotes as far as the consumer segment goes, are already done with. It’s time then to take an overview of the major trends we saw this year.
But in case you haven’t already, please do check out our complete coverage of IFA 2018. We had boots on ground this year and have all the major announcements covered, and then some more.
Whoever said PCs are dead, needed to have been at IFA 2018 as most of excitement was seen in this category. Every major player from Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell had new laptops and PCs to show, across form factors. One of the most common trends seen with all the laptop launches was the new use cases that were thought out.
For instance, Lenovo launched its new Yoga Book C930 with an e-ink dual display, a Yoga C930 with a speaker in the hinge and a ThinkPad X1 Extreme laptop with things thrown in not just for the enterprise user, but also for a hardcore entertainment enthusiast.
Asus and Acer launched laptops with thicknesses that even rival the Apple MacBook Air. Asus ZenBook S measures just 12.9 mm thick when it’s shut and weighs a mere 1 kg, which also promises a 20 hour battery life. It’s no slouch either when it comes to internal specifications as it packs in an Intel Core i7, up to 16 GB RAM, up to 1 TB storage.
Acer announced the Swift 5, which according to it is the world’s lightest 15-inch laptop at 990 grams. And after seeing it in person, I couldn’t agree more. This again features an Intel Core i7 processor.
Another interesting trend among that was clearly visible was having extremely thin bezels on laptops, which allowed a lot of brands to pack in say a 15-inch laptop in a 13-inch laptop form factor.
While not many gaming laptops were announced, every major PC brand had elaborate gaming booths. The Acer Thronos, which was only announced at the keynote, but sadly not there at the Acer booth, is what a gamer’s utopia is made of.
With an adjustable chair that is geared to make you sit comfortably as you game away to glory, with ergonomically placed foot rests, the Thronos is a beast. But there wasn’t any news of its release date or price. Acer even announced a dual Xeon processor housing Predator X gaming PC. Xeon is a processor that’s generally used in data servers, in case you were wondering why that is news.
8K TVs are her, but where’s native 8K content?
Apart from the PC Master Race getting a centre stage at IFA Berlin, the other consumer category that saw lot of future looking trends were TVs. Samsung, LG, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba had 8K TVs being demoed at their respective booths.
Yes. The first question I also had in mind was, where is native 8K content though? But that’s hardly something that should stop TV makers from building for the future. We are at a stage where native 4K content is just about about getting started to be seen around us, and with streaming sites such as Amazon and Netflix supporting 4K HDR content, it is still very early days for a commercial 8K TV.
Samsung’s 8K QLED TV, the 85incher Q900FN, was clearly the showstopper among all the displays I saw at IFA. With the 8K panel which can reach peak brightness levels of 4000 nits, a Quantum Processor 8K which can upscale even your standard definition content to 8K resolution, Samsung certainly had the audience in its booth switching between resolutions to see the output on the 8K display. While the pixellation was impressively controlled, there was a too much of smoothening when one viewed from up front. But it's early days still.
LG had an 88-inch OLED TV at its booth. Toshiba had a concept 8K panel and Sharp had its second generation Aquos series 8K TV. None of these brands had a display as elaborate as the 8K showcase as Samsung. While native content is still a question mark, it is safe to assume that all major trade shows going forward will be focussing on 8K TVs.
The other interesting tech that was showcased by the Korea giants was microLED displays. Now Samsung had showcased an installation called ‘The Wall’ at CES with MicroLED display. The same was also showcased at IFA. LG, on the other hand didn't outright mention of any such thing, but it's booth had a dedicated section for its MicroLED display. Viewing the MicroLED display, one thing is for certain, they are completely immersive and have excellent detailing and colour quality.
Alexa and Assistant getting into more third party products
Many brands such as Sony, Marshall, Harman, LG and even telecom giants Huawei got on to the smart speaker game at IFA and most of these are powered by either Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. The two giants don't want to keep the smart voice based digital assistants restricted to their platforms, which makes sense as letting a speaker maker embed Assistant or Alexa inside is only logical. These numbers will continue to be on the rise going forward and expect to see a lot of these virtual assistant-backed smart speakers selling this holiday season.
So these were the three major trends that stood out as far as consumer electronics are concerned. There were a few mobile phone launches such as Sony’s Xperia XZ3, Motorola’s One and One Power, LG G7 Android One device and so on, but smartphones were clearly not that sought out after all. And why will they? Every smartphone maker these days wants to have their individual events to launch products.
Other product categories showcased included smart home products, home appliances, but it's not humanly possible to cover everything at IFA. For everything else to do with PCs we have you covered.
Let us know which products you liked the most from this year's IFA.
Disclaimer: The correspondent was invited to attend IFA 2018 by Lenovo. All expenses related to travel and accommodation were borne by Lenovo.