Tech companies do battle via tablets and smartphones at Berlin electronics fair
Internationale Funkausstellung, the world's biggest electronics fair, opens in Berlin tomorrow, and top tech companies will be vying for top-dog stature.
Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA), the world's biggest, oldest electronics and home appliances fair, is opening in Berlin tomorrow, providing a stage for some of the technology world's most bitter rivalries.Skip to next paragraph
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There is the war of the tablet makers, pitching Sony, Samsung, Motorola, and all the other producers of would-be iPad competitors against market leader Apple. There is the battle of the smartphone manufacturers, in which Apple and its iPhone will try to fend off stiff competition from Android-powered products. There will also be a scramble in the TV market, where producers of flat screens are adding components like 3D and Internet capability.
At a fair this size it can be hard to stand out.
“With 1,441 exhibitors, we may have a couple fewer than the CES trade show in Las Vegas,” says Roland Stehle, spokesman for the German Association for Entertainment and Communications Electronics, which organizes IFA. “But in terms of visitor numbers and area we are No. 1 in the world, and we’re still growing. In fact, we had to put up temporary extensions this year.”
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The Apple battle
Apple does not attend IFA or any other trade show. Its market dominance ensures that it can hold its own from afar.
“Take tablet PCs: They basically all look the same and do the same,” says Niels Held, editor of Chip magazine, Germany’s leading electronics publication. “The challenge now is to present something unique. Sony is trying to do this at IFA with their Tablet P, which is a two-screen foldup that will fit into your jacket pocket.”
Mr. Held says most manufacturers at the show fail to reproduce the appeal and quality of Apple’s products, but their prices could be a selling point – at around $500, most tablets are quite expensive, given their limited features compared to notebooks. But Acer, the Taiwan-based technology company, is introducing a model at IFA with a $300 starting price.