Who would have thought I'd ever visit Malta, that little island that, like Singapore, was also a colony of the British Empire, and like Singapore, also has a St John Ambulance service. Except their St John's were really linked to real knights.
This year the IFA Global Press Conference is held in Malta, and it is a perfect time to visit. The European consumer electronics show holds its global press conference in a different Mediterranean city each year and the last time it held it in Malta, it was 2009.
The weather here is sunny and yet a cool 17-19ºC during the day and you can enjoy the lovely old buildings and the beach. I didn't go to the beach because I didn't bring my swimming things. I thought it was going to be cold in Europe during Spring. Dang it.
Miss IFA was here as usual, and the city provided foot soldiers and knights in armor to entertain us. There was even a sword fight the night we had our excursion in the capital, Valletta. At least I hoped it was staged. It could have been a couple of drunk cosplayers, for all I know.
Industry leaders shared insights, shilled new products and talked about trends.
Philips was the first to speak during the Power Briefings, and they showed off their back pain management device that can monitor youur back problems with an app.
My favorite slide was from Gfk's Gerald Tan (Singapore, represent!) who spoke about technology insights in Asia. I always enjoy listening to his presentations, though the Europeans tend to leave the room during that segment. Perhaps they should listen more, since Asia is going to be very important to the European tech and appliance industry.
A special Power Briefing was held by Microsoft, where nothing much was shared, because Microsoft was going to announce major things only at their Build 2015 event, to take place from April 29th to May 1st. So much of what was said was general fluff.
Not many products were on display at the press conference. I guess everyone was reserving it for the actual IFA in Messe, Berlin, in September. But I did check out the cool Grundig VUX (Virtual User Experience) tech for stovetops and other future kitchen appliances.
It is still in concept stage, which explains the giant projector needed to beam the interface onto the table top (recommended to be white and matte). Interesting idea but remains to be seen if it is feasible in a real kitchen environment.
Also of interest to me were the Philips Fidelio M2 Lightning headphones. These cans connect to Apple iOS devices via the Lightning port, taking the digital signal all the way to the built-in DAC of the headphones, before being made analog, bypassing the analog headphone jack.
I did enjoy the sound quality of this device. It was like having a sound card inside my headphones.
I am going to enjoy the rest of my short stay in Malta. My sink-washed laundry is drying nicely and quickly in the Maltese sun, at my room's balcony, and that always pleases me. I know, I am a simple person and easy to please. Like this Maltese cat.