BERLIN // The battle of consumer gadgets has heated up again as technology giants from around the world descend on Germany to announce their latest product launches at IFA Berlin.
The biggest launches on Wednesday night were Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and Sony’s new waterproof smartphone the Xperia Z1. Sony is hoping to grab a larger share of the smartphone market with the new phone which focuses mostly on the camera experience, providing users with a standalone lens that can be attached to enable higher-quality imaging.
"It has an imaging experience you will find only in a Sony smartphone," said Kazuo Hirai, chief executive officer at Sony. "It takes the Xperia Z1 and turns a great smartphone into a fantastic compact camera to a level of a truly premium digital SLR."
Both the Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z1 will run on Google’s Android operating system. Android phones now account for 79.3 per cent of the global smartphone market, with iPhone lagging behind at 13.2 per cent. Smartphone sales were up 35 per cent last year, with 937 million units sold worldwide.
Apple is to announce its own range of products next Tuesday. The company is rumoured to be unveiling a new phone and smartwatch.
“All over the world the market situation is difficult right now,” said Hans-Joachim Kamp, the chairman of the supervisory board at GFU in an opening press conference. “In the first half of 2013 we faced a downturn in the field of consumer electronics, but the forecast for the second half of the year makes us confident and we can expect a reversal of the trend.”
Given the timing of these announcements, the UAE can expect to benefit from early global launches of these products with Gitex Shopper next month.
“With Gitex Shopper coming up, we can expect to see hopefully some products announced here in time,” said Ashish Panjabi, thebchief operating officer at Jacky’s Electronics.
“Last year the Galaxy Note 2 was announced at IFA and Samsung rushed to have it here in time for Gitex Shopper. The UAE was one of the first markets to get it. With both Gitex Shopper and Tech Week in October, if the products aren’t being shipped, at the very least I hope most brands will be able to display them. Who knows, we may even start pre-bookings for them during these events.”
Besides consumer electronics, IFA Berlin is also an important platform for home appliances. The likes of Dyson and LG are expected to announce new products with improved efficiency and connectivity.
IFA Berlin is one of the biggest consumer electronics shows, attracting more than 45,000 visitors. It generates €3.8 billion (Dh18.38bn) in order volumes for exhibitors.