With a bit of polish, IFA could emerge as a magnificent show

Philips Ambilight
Philips Ambilight

IFA has always been a somewhat odd technology show. It's positioned as a consumer event, throwing its doors open to the public to see the latest and greatest gadgets, but this only after a couple of slightly ramshackle press days where dodging builders and lorries is as vital as getting to the next conference.

In some ways, the unpolished nature of the show in those early media days serves as a microcosm of the show itself.

The big players do, in fairness, commit effort and no little time in creating rather splendid stands, and some of them remain keen to announce new wares.

IFA 2016

The 2016 incarnation is very much continuing the trend. We've seen a major phone announced in the Sony Xperia XZ, a first foray into OLED for Philips and a key new wearable from Samsung in the Gear S3.

Is it art?

But we've also born witness to a peculiar light art gallery for LG which apparently showcases its new Signature range in a new and wonderful way (which is actually done far better by the actual showcase of its Signature range in the building next door).

LG Lights

We've got a glimpse of an 8K television concept that someone thought would be a great showcase of pictures that were apparently filmed in 6K, modified for 4K and then upscaled to a rather muddy mess. Way to show off a new tech guys…

We've clambered over huge logs to get to conferences that bring nothing new of note, and no Samsung Galaxy Note 7 because of its recall, listened to speeches that are high on bluff and very low of substance and we've thoroughly enjoyed the Berlin sunshine when we emerged blinking out of the huge metal hangers.

Height restrictions

The overriding sense from the US and UK journalists that I've spoken to is that we're all very fond of Berlin's big tech show but we'd really rather like it to hit heights that it's only hinted at.

LG G6 77

With CES big on size but small on innovation these days, and with Barcelona's MWC bringing a raft of major announcements but only in the niche of phones, the time is ripe for a show which not only fits in with the sales patterns that define when we get our kit, but also brings a sense of excitement.

IFA, it would seem, is perfectly placed to be this show - but it perhaps needs to convince the major players from Asia that it's an ideal opportunity to launch their headline offerings.

Philips conference

Many of the biggest companies have taken a leaf out of Apple's book and tried to offer up their own bespoke events for their major launches, and yet not managed to create the hype and reaction that the Cupertino-based giant effortlessly manage.

So a sizeable show makes a lot of sense for announcements; eradicating the fear of embarrassment at low turnouts and ensuring the key media outlets are present but, of course, running the risk of being lost in the noise.

IFA is a good show, but it potentially could be a great show - they just need to add a bit of polish to the press side of things and not lose that gloss when the public makes its appearance.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.