Europe’s largest consumer electronics fair welcomed thousands of visitors to Berlin on Friday morning, where more than 1,400 exhibitors were displaying their latest and greatest products.The IFA – Internationale Funk Austellung – kicked off on Thursday night with a red carpet gala and its very own, flame-haired, “Miss IFA” to welcome VIP guests.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is currently on a diplomatic visit to China, appeared in a video message addressing the influence of the industry.
“The industry plays an important role in the development of our economy and our labour market play,” she said, adding that the innovations on display also highlighted Germany’s importance as a high-tech location.
The repercussions of Apple’s billion-dollar patent victory over Samsung were palpable at the fair.
The South Korean firm unveiled a host of new gadgets in an effort to rebound after losing the biggest patent case in decades to US rival Apple. Among its offerings was a voice-controlled camera, tablets, a “smart PC” and a voice-controlled camera.
Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit said the IFA was a good test market to see how consumers responded to market innovations, adding that it was important for new devices to be user-friendly.
In the run-up to the holiday shopping season, IFA is also an important shopping show, raking in more than €3.7 billion in orders last year.
The consumer electronics fair runs until September 5 at the ICC trade fair centre in the west of Berlin. It is one of the oldest in Germany.