September 01, 2017

What we expect at IFA 2017

Here at VanBerlo we strongly believe in multidisciplinary teams. That’s why UX Designer Bart, Strategist Donald and I (Product Designer), are heading to IFA Berlin. We are itching to see what the future of consumer electronics has to offer!

IFA stands as one of Europe's biggest technology shows and it has returned once again for 2017. It's the biggest tech show in the run up to Christmas. Although no longer as big as it used to be, it still pulls in the big name firms. So, what to expect? With so many rumours, pre IFA released products and announcements from brands and bloggers about what's going to be on show, we must say we are excited to experience the products and trends first hand. After all; holding and using the product is the real experience!

With so much on show it's easy to be overwhelmed, so we've broken it down a little into the topics that we are looking most forward to.

AI
LG said it would unveil various Internet of Things devices, robots and smart home solutions in Berlin this year. It is exciting to see what comes of this as we've already seen their work in combination with Alexa. And given that Harman Kardon's Invoke speaker, with Cortana from Microsoft, is due to go on sale in autumn, we would be surprised if we don't see the Alexa competitor here. Lastly, the Buzz strongly suggests the arrival of Samsung's smart home speaker to rival Apples new Homepod. Perhaps it won't make an appearance as Samsung keeps the release date has been kept under tight wraps. It would be intriguing to see it powered by Samsung's voice controlled assistant Bixby.

Drones
Are they still just toys for boys? This was a point made about drones by our own CTO Eric van Dorst, in his article on consumer technology fair CES 2016. Or have brands like DJI changed the game with updates to their fleets? Is the flying force one to be reckoned with? With Spark, DJI's most recent quadcopter and their smallest model yet, perhaps other brands are able to deliver the same value proposition. It's intriguing to see what other updates will appear.

AR/VR
It seems like all eyes will be focussing on Lenovo's Mirage Mixed Reality headset; the folks over at mobiekopen.net spotted the filed trademark for Lenovo Mirage. Along with the trademark listing, it reveals that the trademark is related to VR headsets, augmented reality headsets, and mixed reality headsets. We also all know Lenovo is also working with Google on a Daydream VR headset, and is building it's own mixed reality hardware, so the Mirage name could reserved for either of those. Let's wait and see, although our attention will be diverted as we are itching to have a play on it's phone powered AR Star Wars visor, complete with lightsaber controller! In addition, Microsoft (who doesn't usually have a big presence at IFA) are launching a range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, from various OEMs like Dell, Lenovo, and HP. Expect to see Microsoft appear randomly at the show, with the main focus on its VR plans for the holidays.

Wearables
An area that's less prevalent at IFA than CES but that's not meaning we should underestimate it! With a now heavy focus on wearables adopting more solid feedback about your health with medical grade sensors, it's interesting to see if the less serious side is still standing it's ground and if there is any development in the lifestyle and fashion side of things. One to look out for is of course Fitbit; one of the more mature brands in this market will be showcasing their newly launched Ionic watch incorporating blood oxygen levels! The burning question is; does the build quality and additional features warrant the €350-euro price tag? On the other side you have brands like Huawei, who's first venture wasn't a success. However, we expect to see them release a new addition so we are intrigued what they will have on show. Finally, it appears extremely likely, based on leaks and a sole FCC filing, that we're going to see the Samsung Gear Sport. Though whether this is a legitimate successor to the Gear S3 and the de facto Samsung Gear S4 is unknown. With unconfirmed specs it seems all we can do at this moment is speculate, although the rumours state that we shall be receiving a waterproof variant capable of 5ATM.

Philips
Philips is rumoured to be releasing a wide range of new products focusing primarily on healthy living and enabling people to manage their health at home with products such as the 'Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart'. Intriguing to see what the new oral care management platform in combination with the device shall include. However, let's not forget Avent, with products for new moms becoming a huge growing market of devices and supporting platforms. Philips's rumoured dedicated app connecting to current products could be one to stand out. And also, let's not forget dad, as helping parents understand and support your baby's healthy development is more important than just the mom. Let's see what else Philips brings to the table.

Want to grab a coffee? Get in touch with us! Or perhaps a curry-wurst is more fitting...

Time to make our way to Berlin! Keep an eye out on our website for more from the future of consumer electronics. Remember to check out VanBerlo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to catch a glimpse of what we've been getting up to.

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