IFA, Europe’s largest technology fair, has returned to Berlin. And it has done so after two years of a harsh pandemic. These events have been somewhat lazy for a long time, but after this big break of two physical editions being cancelled, expectations were high. Y have not been fulfilled.
A technology fair is an event where the first thing that catches our attention are the big brands that (sometimes) present their star products there. However, the best is often in the long corridors, those in which to get lost trying to understand the trends of tomorrow. In Berlin, like every year, we have literally lost ourselves, but of future trends we have found little. Or nothing. This is what IFA 2022 has left us.
Plegables SA: a takeoff in diapers
We can date in 2019 the moment when, with a more or less serious approach, the folding ones came into our hands. The protagonist was the Samsung Galaxy Fold, that ill-fated first model. Since then we have known three models of the Fold and four of the Flip.
The market is taking off. These terminals, despite their price, are making a small hole. However, in many ways they do not stop feeling prototypesespecially when the durability variable comes into action.
At IFA we have attended the presentation of models such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold (2022). It has seemed to us a better resolved team than its predecessor, but we are talking about a laptop that reaches the market for 2,999 euros in its lowest configuration, and without guaranteeing, for example, a comfort similar to that of a traditional model with its full keyboard, because its keys feel somewhat tight.
Another good model is the ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED, but again, it will start at $3,499. The high cost of the components and the inflationary spiral can explain this, but if we add to this that the experience is not as refined as in lifelong equipment, the assessment when walking through the IFA and seeing these models is none other, in my opinion, that the market is still in its infancy. And there is nothing wrong with that. Simply, It remains to wait for the maturity that inevitably ends up reaching all the products.
And the pandemic effect?
Something we expected at IFA 2022 was a COVID-19 effect. That is, clearly see trends in technology caused by the pandemic. And it has not been. There has not been an explosion of small or large manufacturers proposing great solutions for telecommuting or for this new phase of hybrid work. At most, manufacturers like Honor or Huawei
We expected more pandemic effect and more metaverse. still not here
Perhaps we have already seen too many empty words in this sense, such as those of Microsoft justifying the existence of Windows 11 due to the emergence of telecommuting. Whatever it is, it doesn’t disappoint either. No big home or business needs that hardware has to come fix. It is the software that still has a lot to say to make us more productive. We wait for you.
Robot vacuum cleaners that reimagine the future?
In recent years, where there has been an explosion in sales has been in robot vacuum cleaners. Many companies have their own, and deep down few add value to the bases popularized long ago. IFA 2022 has been the event where we have seen more companies trying to tell us that these household pots come from beyondthat there is still much to improve.
I never imagined that a market like this would launch slogans such as “reimagining the future”, more typical of (today) empty proposals such as the ‘metaverse’ or a great advance in mobile photography than of a robot that contributes little or nothing to those from years ago.
In many cases, the models were clones, without contributing absolutely anything to what was already present on the market. Added to these proposals are those of Dyson-type handheld vacuum cleaners, which do have a long way to go in aspects such as autonomy, or those of smart watches that seem anchored in 2016, due to appearance and functionality.
No ads around 8K
Although the biggest announcements in televisions correspond to the CES in Las Vegas, at IFA we have also seen great technological leaps, such as in 2018, when Samsung presented its first QLED 8K models there.
Four editions later, 8K populates some of its best TVs (artificially segmented from 4K in things like number of local dimming zones), but there’s no word on content. In fact, I was struck by being in the booth by TCL seeking to marvel at seeing an 8K demo from very close, only to end up perceiving little detail given how little care the content was.
And it is that there have been no interesting news there in recent times, except that there will be something (very little) of ‘The Rings of Power’ in 8K on Amazon Prime Video. We are still waiting for a standard or the first agreements around it. But IFA has not been that fair where to meet them. And it seems that CES 2023 will not be either.
Much of the “future” is still far from home
in IFA the white range has always been the protagonist. Strolling through IFA is finding household appliances galore. And of course, the big manufacturers do not show all the models they have or are going to launch there, but the high range. So far so good, we are not going to a technology fair to find a generic washing machine like the one our parents have.
However, a feeling that arises every year at the fair, and that at IFA 2022 has gone further, has been that democratization in household appliances is going very slowly. In washing machines, for example, there are already relatively affordable models on the market with WiFi, to control the cycle with the mobile, program it with a personal assistant, etc. However, in refrigerators, for example, it is almost impossible to find an affordable model with new features not from 2021, but from 2016.
Six years after models with an integrated camera to make the purchase automatically or detect the state of the food, IFA 2022 continues to promote novelties of this type that provide comfort and tranquility to the user.
But which user? The one who can pay thousands of euros for a refrigerator. It is business as usual in technology, although there are differences with other cases. In 2016 an OLED TV was outrageously expensive, but today you can get it in 55″ for less than 900 euros in specific offers. But the aspirational refrigerator of 2016 is still so in 2022.
To have the white range of this fair in an ordinary house, where we have loved ovens that warn us that the food has reached the intended point of golden brown, we will have to wait many years. It is the law of life, but in these events it seems that the future promised a decade ago is still not here. And even though everything presented promises to be able to connect with its ecosystem in a transparent waythe reality is that Matter little has been said. And it is the relevant thing to connect to others.