Another knackering IFA show has come to an end, leaving a trail of broken and bruised tech journos slumped across Berlin’s landscape. But despite a relentless onslaught of launches and press events, we saw very few new phones this year – something we expected from the pre-expo build-up.
The overiding themes were definitely Windows 8 and tablets, often in partnership. Asus was the first to announce its new Windows 8 slates, the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT, which come with bundled keyboard docks – a highly fashionable accessory these days, pushing laptops one step closer to extinction. Samsung was only hours behind, launching its new Ativ Windows 8 tablet at its huge ‘Unpacked’ event, as well as the first ever Windows 8 phone, the Ativ S, unveiled a full week before Nokia’s New York event.
Of course, Android tablets weren’t exactly thin on the ground. Sony announced its first own-brand Xperia tablet, while Lenovo and Huawei also showed off their latest Android gear. A strong emphasis on media and gaming was ably demonstrated by the dual- and quad-core processors stuffed inside, along with some über-crisp HD displays. We also saw an Android camera, courtesy of Samsung – an interesting concept that proves how flexible Google’s OS can be.
Thankfully we did see a handful of phones too, primarily the latest Sony Xperias (all Ice Cream Sandwich updates on the last batch, with an emphasis on design and usability) plus Samsung’s iconic Galaxy Note II – and yes, the dreaded ‘phablet’ word unfortunately cropped up. But with the likes of Nokia and HTC launching kit outside of IFA this year, we’re wondering if the expo is starting to fall out of favour compared to the likes of MWC.