Berlin’s annual IFA consumer electronics show is one of the world’s biggest and we’ve been scouring the show floor for the latest technology and gadgets. Despite the sheer vastness of stuff throbbing for our attention, several clear themes emerged from this year’s Teutonic technology trade fair.
Windows 8 tablets and Surface – Microsoft’s unspoken presence
There’s always one product or category of product that dominates IFA every year and this year’s unquestioned spotlight hogger was Windows 8. Almost every major multinational manufacturer of computers was in Berlin announcing their latest PCs, tablets and laptops designed specifically for Microsoft’s new touch-focussed operating system. The number of tablet-laptop hybrids became such a deluge that for one brief moment our caffeine-addled brains struggled to tell them apart.
Two crucial details were also missing from every manufacturer’s announcement though – price and UK/EU availability dates and we think Microsoft is to blame. The company’s upcoming Surface tablets will be major competitors to all the similar products from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba. Those companies could be hedging their bets, waiting for Microsoft to tip its hand and reveal pricing and availability before setting their own. Alternatively, they are still locked in negotiations with Microsoft behind closed doors trying to coordinate a launch marred by the fact that their biggest and most important partner is now potentially their biggest competitor.