Every end of August/beginning of September we go a bit nuts at Pocket-lint and start prefacing just about all of our articles with the letters IFA followed by whatever year it might be. Hardened readers will know exactly what’s going on, but for those new to the old gadgets game or just popping in to say hello might like a little explanation of what we’re up to; so this is what it’s all about.
Each year, for the best part of a week, Berlin becomes the focus of the entire consumer electronics industry as the city hosts one of the world’s largest trade shows on the planet. That is this thing they call IFA. Pronounced ee-fa by most who know her, the acronym stands for Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, which roughly translated comes out as The Berlin Radio Show - how the show first began life in 1926.
Since then, the show has become a hub of audio, home appliances, digital media, home computing and all the gadgets that you’d associate with them, including a specially large focus on home entertainment. The event takes place in Berlin’s answer to the NEC, called the Messe Berlin, with a total of 121,000 square metres of floor space devoted to over 1000 exhibitors and the 250,000-odd visitors feasting their eyes on all that the tech world has in store for the next 12 months. It is Europe's answer to the Las Vegas CES technology show, but perhaps even more relevant for us because all the product launches are likely to be relevant for UK consumers.
To put it bluntly, it’s a massive and unwieldy creature to try to navigate which is why the organisers have the sense to pepper the festivities with enough German snack stores and drinks wagons to keep the lost and aimless gadget-fiends fuelled up enough to make it to the next stand.
All the manufactures are there, with the likes of Samsung, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, LG, Toshiba and Sharp taking up the most amount of space in the largest, most central halls with some ridiculously large displays of their TV prowess. Each will have its own press conference where they unveil their latest and greatest items for the upcoming year.
Beyond those, you’ll find every single consumer tech brand you’ve ever heard of, and bottom load that you never have, right the way down to the halls full of small inventors and tech dreamers looking to get their ideas spotted, bought up and mass produced by the big guys. In fact, there’s only one company you won’t see and, surprise surprise, that’s Apple.
IFA 2010 is the 50th show to take place, running between 3-8th September and, if you enjoyed the Gadget Show Live up in Birmingham, then it’s well worth the trip to Berlin. Tickets are 11 euros for a day pass and travel and accommodation might be okay, if you’re quick. However...
...if you can’t make it or persuade your partner and family to spend their holiday time traipsing round an air-conditioned, strip-lit trade show while you get your hands on all the latest geek kit, then fear not.
Pocket-lint will be out there and out there in numbers. The press get let in on the 1st and 2nd September and it will be our very raison d’etre, for those days and the ones beyond, to bring you all the news at the press conferences and as many photos as we’ve got space on our SD cards. Every laptop, every media player, every tablet, every camera, every camcorder, every mobile phone, every PC peripheral, every gaming device, every gadget, gizmo, nick-nac and paddy whack we can find we''l bring to you via the site. We will be there bringing all the action to you.
Running on pretzels, sauerkraut and as much liquid caffeine as we can inject into our eyeballs, we'll cover every inch of the show floor until we've written the place dry. Take a look back at our coverage of the last few years so you know what to expect and, with the show famous for the launch of the first cathode ray TV, the tape machine, the CD, the DVD and the MP3 player, we looks forward to seeing what's uncovered in 2010.