The key messages that the IFA Global Press Conference in Sardinia, Italy, wanted us to take away, in a nutshell, seems to be:
1. Yes the economy in South Europe is pretty bad but they are optimistic that things will pick up provided the European economic crisis is resolved by 2014, China and India continue to grow, and there are no new military conflicts (Kim Jong-Un, are you listening?).
2. Messe Berlin will be able to cope with a bigger show by 2014 when new buildings are completed at the fairgrounds.
3. The European IFA is a better Consumer Electronics Show than that American upstart, CES in Las Vegas.
Anyways, that didn't stop me from checking out some of the booths set up for the event. It was not very big but we got to see a few products (I guess everyone is holding back for the actual IFA in Berlin, in September).
Of course, I had to try the new Samsung S4 for a bit. Then gestured like a silly person in front of the Samsung Smart TVs that can do gesture and voice control. That's an upgrade kit for their TVs, the Evolution Kit, in my hands, meant to ensure your TV, or UHD TV doesn't get obsolete so fast.
I popped over to the Philips booth to try their award-winning Philips Fidelio M1 headphones. Very nice, I have to say, for the money. The tone was balanced and the bass was weighty without being in your face. I thought the bass needed a little more punch though. Sound stage was decent and controlled, and the cans were comfy to wear too. The M1 doesn't fold.
I even found myself interested in the fancy Miele household products from Germany. Their line of microwave and coffee maker looked really nice with their iPhone/Android user interface. I had a nice Macchiato from their machine, my I-have-lost-count cup of Italian coffee since this morning.
Then I tried out the Loewe docks and looked at their high end TV. I still fumble over the German name of this premium TV brand to this day.
I spotted the Panasonic GF6 camera on display at the Panasonic booth and gave it a go. It has wifi built in and takes my (now very large) collection of Micro Four Thirds lenses. It's biggest feature seems to be the new 180° tilt-able 1,040,000-dot screen that is perfect for the zipai camwhore.
The GF6 has the same 16-megapixel sensor from the GX-1 and the Venus processing engine from the new Lumix GH3. The auto-focus is supposed to be faster, especially with low light, but I couldn't switch off the lights at the event hall so I couldn't test that part. Seemed nippy in regular light though.
I wished there were more products to see but hey, that's what the IFA in Berlin in September is for, I suppose.