IFA - Best 5 gadgets ever launched at the show
With IFA 2010 just around the corner, we're taking a look back at the very best gadgets IFA has had to offer over the years gone by. Berlin's consumer electronics show is always stuffed to the very gunnels with the top technology that the world can come up with and, ever since the show has taken place on an annual basis, the manufacturers have been fighting over who would be the talk of the town each time.
While it's easy for a product from 2009 to make another 4 years older look silly, there are a certain bunch best IFA gadgets which transcend time; those which made a splash; those whose credentials of conception and design were, and still are, a class above the rest. These are the very greats of modern day IFA before, of course, the best gadgets at IFA 2010 reveal themselves.
Philips Aurea TV
Back in 2007 Philips decided it'd pick up its Ambilight technology idea and run with it. Out popped the last thing anyone at IFA was expecting - a 42-inch, top of the line, 1080p TV with a 100Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time and an 8mm bezel packed with LEDs that looked something like a juke box. It was called the Philips Aurea.
While there were a lot of nay sayers at the time, it was universally heralded by reviewers as an excellent set that not only looked interesting to have on the wall but also added to the viewing experience. When your room turns as green as the jungle in Predator, it certainly creates a mood.
Soundwise the Aurea featured an "invisible" sound system which was fully integrated into the rim of the TV, used 2 arrays of 12 invisible firing front drivers and, 2 subwoofer/mid speaker boxes in the bottom of the set combined for 26 speakers. The Aurea was so successful that it's now in its third incarnation and includes all the Wi-Fi and DLNA connectivity you could want.
It wasn't the first Mirco Four Thirds camera and it certainly won't be the last, but the Panasonic GF1 was when the world realised just how small and convenient an interchangeable lens camera could really get. It reduced the size and weight of Panasonic's first effort, the G1, by 35 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.
Launched in 2009, it came, and indeed, still comes, with a 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, a 3-inch LCD, built in flash and a choice of two lenses - a 20mm pancake lens and a 14-45mm lens as well. There's no viewfinder but you do get all the in-camera technologies you'd need including 720p video shooting into AVCHD Lite format.
The GF1 got a top notch review at Pocket-lint, picking up our camera of the year award while it was at it.
Harman Kardon GLA-55
When Harman Kardon told the world about its GLA-55 desktop computer speaker system in 2008, it wasn't the technology we were that interested in. The 100-watt bi-amplified digital speakers, DSP equalization, tonne of proprietary ideas, Atlas AL woofers and CMMD tweeter were certainly all very impressive, but what really knocked everyone out was the idea of having a couple of icebergs sitting on your desk making sweet music at you.
Naturally, this kind of thing isn't to everyone's taste, but they certainly make a statement. The touch sensitive volume controls on the outside add even more class to the proceedings. At £749 they're still one of the most expensive items available at Apple's online store, and that's saying something.
Sony Bravia ZX1
In a year when everyone tried to out-do each other with the world's thinnest TV, it was Sony who came out on top with the 9.9mm Sony Bravia ZX1 LCD TV. It's been surpassed since by the Samsung 6mm model but it's an old trick now.
The ZX1 is side lit by LEDs, it's wireless, and hosts all the other gubbins connected to the media receiver tucked neatly out of sight and you can still pick one up for a cool two grand or so.
Hama Pure Race Wheel
At IFA 2009, Hama proved that you don't need to do anything wildly complicated in order to make a splash in the consumer tech world. This 16 euro accessory, made by German company Hama, works like the Wii Wheel, with the iPod touch or iPhone slotting into the steering wheel so you can then use it to easily control the on screen driving movements.
Users can mount the iPod touch either portrait or landscape on the Pure Race Wheel and there's actually a choice of slightly different designs including something that looks like it belongs in the Batmobile. Simple, original, effective and tonnes of fun.
Stay tuned for our IFA 2010 coverage or have a dig in the archives to see what else came out in the years gone by.