Consumer electronics go ‘Deutsch’


By Andrew Persson

Berlin, Germany was abuzz this summer during the annual IFA (“Internationale Funkausstellung”) show. Unlike its American counterpart, the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Consumer Electronics Unlimited is open to the public. From Sept. 2-7, the Messe Berlin housed all 1,332 vendors, displaying everything from the latest in kitchen electronics to the latest in 3D LED televisions.


The IFA draws in the latest consumer technology, whether it is the most recent developments in  vacuum technology or the newest in micro speakers. Yet, some stands were instead devoted to the appraisal of the most popular older technology. Among them was a platform of Beijing B-Long International Convention & Exhibition Co., Ltd., which had on display the voted best graphics cards, printers, and cameras. Included were the Level 10 VL30001N1Z Computer Case, constructed as a collaborative effort by Thermaltake; an aftermarket computer parts company; and a luxury automaker BMW.

A very well-known item on display was the Samsung Tab. The Tab, like the iPad, is a slate, or a tablet computer that does not include a keyboard. The Tab is lighter than the iPad, but operates in much the same way, despite being Linux-based while the iPad is iOS-based.

But the Tab still has some development and testing to do before the refined product is ready for the average consumer, as is true of the iPad.

To demonstrate its capabilities, each Tab on display was playing a demo racing game in which the car was controlled by holding the Tab as if were a steering wheel. The Tab has also implemented touchless gesture-based control. By waving your fingers by the camera, you can turn the page of the eBook you are reading, or you can use it to zoom in or out of images and maps.

Along with new tables and slates, the IFA was focused on the next wave of home entertainment systems, with almost every room showing off some sort of 3D graphics. The displays ranged from live 3D recording sessions to full digital 3D projectors, which threw images 188 inches across to game systems being played in 3D.

Most of the 3D displays work in similar ways, although there are exceptions. Samsung’s new 3D TV, unlike almost all the competitors’ models, does not use special glasses, and instead creates the illusion of looking through a window in which images on the screen appear in three dimensions.

From the latest in cappuccino makers to the new largest television in the world, this year’s IFA shows that the global economic situation has done little to slow the advances in consumer electronics and media equipment.


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