ermany’s capital city might be most famous for the Brandenburg Gate, the remains of the Berlin Wall, and the iconic

September 2019

Jamie Carter l technology journalist

All the fun of the fair G


Fernsehturm TV tower, but for a few days in September each year the world talks about some of its more transient technology. Giant TVs. White goods. Accessories galore. And, yes, enough ‘digital lifestyle’ products to last a lifetime. That’s what you’ll find at IFA 2019, which takes place at Messe Berlin from Friday 6 until Wednesday 11 September 2019. Note that Thursday 5 September is press day; visitors are advised to browse the tech news press that evening to help plan their visit. So what’s going to be at the 95th Internationale Funkausstellung? We’ll certainly get a peek at the next wave of 5G devices, some of them for the smart home. One of those could just be a 5G-equipped 8K TV from Huawei, according to a report from Nikkei. Why a 5G TV? Having a 5G modem inside a TV would mean higher data rates and perhaps no need for a set-top box. A 5G TV could also act as a 5G Wi-Fi router for other devices. Nothing is confirmed; keep an ear on Huawei’s Richard Yu during his opening keynote of the IFA conference programme.

Willkommen in Berlin! A visitor’s guide to IFA

If IFA 2018 was the breakout year for 8K TVs, IFA 2019 will see it spread. Samsung is sure to show- off many more 8K QLED TVs with AI upscaling, with its new Note 10 also bound to occupy some of its vast and exclusive CityCube zone in at Messe Berlin. By the way, give yourself at least an hour to tour Samsung’s stand, and leave it as late as you can in your visit; it’s stand is always mega-busy. Expect more 8K OLED TVs from LG in the wake of last year’s 88-inch 8K OLED and 173- inch MicroLED TV. Also expect crowds, so avoid a ‘first-thing-Friday’ visit. Will Sony issue an update to its WH-1000XM3

wireless headphones from IFA 2018? That’s possible, as is a new Hi-Res Audio-ready Walkman

Very comfortable shoes. That’s by far the most important piece of advice for anyone visiting IFA. Think hiking boots aren’t smart enough for the 170,000 square metres and 26 fair halls of Messe Berlin? Think again. And while you’re at it, be prepared for some other unusual tactics. Such as this one: selfie sticks. It might sound silly, but they can help your phone get some height for decent photos, which is critical when you’re surrounded by crowds of people… of which there are many! So how do you get to IFA? It’s staged at Messe Berlin in the city’s western Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf precinct. Taxis can be difficult to find and traffic is heavy, so journeys to IFA can take a long time. Similarly, if a manufacturer is laying-on a corporate bus to IFA, be sceptical (though the official IFA

complete with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, according to rumours, for streaming from the likes of Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz. Elsewhere, Sonos is expected to launch new

products, with its Playbar and Play:1 speaker surely at the front of the queue for a voice control upgrade to bring them into line with the Sonos

Airport bus to and from Tegel Airport from the South Entrance is very useful). The best way to get to IFA is usually the U-Bahn, which is easy and cheap. Alight at either Messe Nord/ ICC (to the north) or Messe Sud (to the south), but choose wisely. Get familiar with where everything is before you set off for the day. Use a map, or use the IFA app, and identify where some of the major brands’ stands are; even if you have no intention of visiting them, marking their stands on your map will give you valuable bearings. There are sporadic shuttle buses around Messe Berlin, but if you’re making appointments, don’t plan to walk from north to south and back again in under two hours. Those who plan IFA like a military operation will love IFA… just don’t forget your Fitbit!

One and Beam speakers. Danish audio brand, Libratone, has been talking about its IFA launch of the first true-wireless headphones with noise cancellation and its latest wireless 360 speakers. Exactly what will materialise in Berlin remains to be seen, but IFA-goers will be sure to experience all the fun of the fair.

IFA 2019 promises to be all about the next wave of 5G devices. Berlin veteran Jamie Carter offers a survival guide.

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