As the IFA trade show in Berlin kicks into high gear I remember my very first time attending. Back in 2011 phones were tiny rectangles and physical keyboards were still a thing. I wandered over to the Samsung keynote expecting something iterative, but they changed the smartphone landscape for years.
They introduced the Note.
I can’t overstate the importance of of this line. It ushered in large screens (this and the Dell Streak), made the stylus useful again, and perhaps, most personally, started the trend of friends and family making fun of me for my tablet sized phones. Samsung could have held their own keynote weeks before the show, but they choose IFA where they knew the most eyes would be there to see their new prize.
I didn’t follow the show too closely until 2011, but it’s had my attention ever since.
While the influence of CES has waned the past decade, IFA has only grown. We’ve already seen a new BlackBerry, new drones, tablets, convertibles and more. It’s still a place for new products to launch, not just a place for car manufacturers and after-market speakers (if you’ve been to CES recently, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about).
We are a small company with minimal resources so we pick and choose what we cover and when, and every September, IFA is always at the top of our list. The trade show experience is a right of passage for young journalists in our industry, it’s a chaotic sleep deprived mess, but it’s a mess I love.
So, as IFA 2017 begins again, raise a Berliner to a tech trade show that still matters.