IFA 2017 attracted more than 253,000 visitors to Berlin, a global trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. With more than half of all trade visitors coming from abroad, IFA Berlin provided a huge boost for both manufacturers and retailers in the crucial run-up to the holiday period, which runs from Thanksgiving in the United States all the way to Christmas and the New Year. Once again, IFA was operating at full capacity, with 1,805 exhibitors showing their latest products and services on 159,000 square meters of fully booked show floor at Messe Berlin. The mood among exhibitors was highly optimistic, not least given the expected order volume of 4.7 billion euro achieved during the six days of the event.
The Annual 2017 IFA tradeshow in Berlin ends today with a slew of smart and sometimes crazy technology. Much was about the newest wearables, laptops, phones or speakers which are basically incrementally better than older models. But exciting technology is about how to do or experience things, in a new way.
Here are some of my favourites.
BIG AND SMALL HOME APPLIANCES The Smart Home appliance category ruled. German high end Miele’s Dialog oven uses a combination of electromagnetic waves (like microwaves) a convection fan and traditional radiant heating elements to cook food, precisely.
A smartphone cradle that runs like a desktop computer on any big screen with mouse and keyboard?
Say hello to Samsung’s DeX Station, $249.99 CDN, portable charging cradle on steroids, complete with wireless smarts, Ethernet, two USB, one power and HDMI ports making any monitor or TV a desktop-like experience. For now, it only works with Samsung’s newest S8 and S8 plus smartphones, with more compatibility in the works.
The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is over! With information overload beyond comprehension for most folks, and more than 3,800 exhibiting company booths to explore, the 50th anniversary tech Mecca show came to an end on Sunday.
Giant brands like Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony backed by a crew of several hundred each, in multi million dollar “booths” large enough to fill a dozen homes each, impressed. In contrast, one-person booths with a single table, among the 600 startup displays the CES Eureka Park Marketplace hoped for the break of a lifetime.
Follow my daily 12 tech days of Christmas. The words of the perennial 1909 festive song by Frederic Austin’s original have changed slightly, but the meaning is all the same. Merry Christmas!
“On the sixth day of Christmas my tech love gave to me, six shiny laptops,five top-tier smartphones, four odd collections, three streaming players, two instant photos and a java in a pear tree.
Just a few years ago, laptops were doomed to extinction along with desktops as iPads and multi-tasking smartphones got more attention. Not anymore. Laptops are back, as gaming devices and more importantly, consumer targeted as innovative, thinner, lighter and portable computers with sharper multi-swing screens, especially for Windows 10.
At Adobe MAX 2015 in Los Angeles today, Adobe outlined its vision for Creative Cloud — a “connected creative canvas” where people create and share their work from anywhere.
Adobe dazzled some 7,000 attendees with new powerful mobile apps. It showed how cloud-based Adobe CreativeSync allows users to save and share their work, app settings, tools and more, between multiple devises as well as with co-workers.
“The power to be creative is no longer for the few” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayan.
Check out my Global TV Sunday Morning News Tech Talk segment today.
Microsoft’s new Surface 3, is available now for pre-order. It’s touted as the portable work and school successor to its very well received Surface Pro 3 which has impressive sales. Although Microsoft touts similar DNA to the Surface Pro 3, the Surface 3 has very little in common with its older sibling.
Perfect size for portability and long battery life. The docking station is a good idea as is an always connected 4G LTE model. The 3:2 aspect screen ratio on a 10.8 – inch screen is smart for documents and magazines. Keeping three positions for the kick stand is welcome as is the free one year trial of Microsoft Office 365 Personal. The free upgrade to the yet unreleased very excellent Windows 10, we all get in the first year.
The full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, microSD card reader and Micro USB charging port are smart too.
Now the bad news:
The Surface 3 at $639 is too pricey to start with. Third party makers can easily beat that with better features and processors, not the Intel Atom the Surface 3 comes with and more than 2 GB RAM. That doesn’t include the optional Surface 3 Type Cover, $159.99 and full feature Surface Pen for $49.99.
Microsoft is riding on the success of its Surface Pro 3 which commands a hefty price but worth it.
I still can’t see where the tablet version of Windows comes in. It’s still an orphaned touch OS and the more it gets out of the way in the new Windows 10 OS, as it does, the better. That’s not from me. I rarely run into raving Windows tablet users, still griping about the original Windows 8 and patched up Windows 8.1 with “that other screen view with big icons that comes out of nowhere.”
Microsoft’s idea of a universal OS in Windows 10 is a smart idea, insofar as having apps that run on your desktop laptop or Windows Phone. But the tablet part cannot stand up to iPads or Android Tablets. I think one of the wisest things the late Steve Jobs said was that tablets (iPads) and laptops have totally different uses.
Microsoft’s challenge to be in every day consumer lives is making the software giant give a little “free” here and there.
Canadian students can get a free Office 365 Education for Students providing their district school board or individual school (from K-post-secondary institutions) has purchased Microsoft Office for use by its staff. Parents and students can check www.microsoft.ca/freeoffice for details. The software will work on multiple devices for each student and includes classroom collaboration. But not shared with four other users.
But if the students move to another school that uses the popular Google for Education with free forever Office-like tools, they will lose their special Office 365.
Microsoft hopes planting early free seeds to potential future customers of the future is a good idea. As an Office 365 user myself, it’s difficult to break away for competitive free office software.
I must say, with all this free software, especially on phones, one gets spoiled and annoyed at having to pay companies like Microsoft for software. But there is a price for free software. You give up your privacy and your phone literally gets dragged from the additional goings on. Check out this eye opening recent research on what FREE phone software does to your phone.
Interestingly, unlike competitors, Microsoft’s free Office Mobile App has minimal involvement with your smart phone. It only accesses information directly needed by you when using the app.
Would you pay a couple of bucks for phone software that just leaves you alone? For years Microsoft insiders have been telling me, the time will come when the option of paying a descent price for software with no ads or secret sharing of your phone user stats might get traction again.
How do you say I love you for Valentine’s Day with technology?
For a range of affordable new personal tech gift suggestions check out my globalnews.ca/techuntangled and Edmonton Global News Sunday Morning News Tech Talk segment.
If your love has no limit, here are a few items, costing more, that have a lot of tech love to give back for the next few Valentine’s years.
The Kobo WiFi Aura H20, $169.99, is an all-weather E Ink eReader with enough internal memory to carry 3,000 books. The 6.8 – inch antiglare 265 dpi screen features adjustable ComfortLight backlight technology for reading in brighter places.
The New Kindle eReader, $79, is winner in many ways. It’s small, light, with weeks of battery life, 20 per cent faster processing and twice the storage capability as the previous model. The new touch interface is simple and the new Word Wise feature makes it easier for readers learning English to understand new words.