It’s that time of the year when over 300 people from the tech media world and beyond gather to get insights on what’s new in the industry and what to look forward to later in the year at one of the world’s biggest trade shows, IFA.
This year, the IFA Global Press Conference is being held in Rome, Italy. This is the second time that the conference is taking place on Italian soil. 5 years ago, in 2013, the autonomous Mediterranean island of Sardinia played host to the GPC. Last year, the conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal.
Of interest to us as Android enthusiasts at the conference will be the announcements we are expecting from some of the partners of Messe Berlin, the organizers of both the Global Press Conference and the annual IFA that is usually held in the German capital of Berlin.
The partners include TV-makers Philips, Sharp and TCL who will probably also be telling us about other things they’re doing in the consumer electronics space. Like, for instance, Philips is big on healthcare products besides being a brand of interest when it comes to the Android world thanks to its smart devices, like the Hue bulb lights, that play nice with Android devices, and its collection of televisions which run on the Android TV platform. Sharp figured out that it could remove the top bezel from mobile devices and still let users make calls and take selfies without subjecting them to the torture of the design malfunction – notch – that we’re now being forced to embrace by device makers eager to follow Apple into the dark. I wonder what they will be having for us (hint: something to do with high-res TVs). Thankfully, we don’t have that long to wait to figure it all out.
Like Philips, TCL also bundles the Android TV software on its television sets. Unfortunately, we’re yet to see the Chinese brand avail these in the Kenyan market. The brand also uses Roku software on its TV sets.
Industry old timers Sony and Panasonic are also in the mix.
The usual suspects, market research firm GfK which will also be joined by another company with a nearly-similar focus, IHS, Android’s top two device makers Samsung and Huawei, will also be at the conference.
Last year, Samsung took the opportunity to flaunt its then latest Frame TVs.
Huawei has previously used the conference to drum up support for Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), the low-powered network connectivity solution for the billions of devices that we expect to complement our mobile devices and ease up more tasks while still using available cellular networks, like those we use to call, text and access the internet.
A new face attending this year’s conference that has me all lit up is Fitbit. The San Francisco-based wearables maker is just fresh from launching the Fitbit Versa days ago. My fingers are crossed to get a chance to play with one of the good-looking and reasonably-priced wearables that one can pick up and pair with their Android smartphone today.
Here are some highlights from last year’s IFA GPC: