IFA 2011 had too many gadgets for one article so I’ve split this into a two-parter. And we will of course be looking in great depth at many of the announcements from the past few days in coming articles.
Gavio – a leading lifestyle brand I’ve never heard of caught my eye with their Wrenz decorative speakers. Using a simple 3.5 mm jack they can accept sound from most devices and also play nicely with Bluetooth. You can daisy chain them as well if you so desire. But most importantly they look like ridiculously cute birds.
Seagate sat me down to play with their Wireless hard drive for iOS devices. Even the largest iPad maxes out at 64Gb and streaming things from the cloud and eat up horrific amounts of data (I speak as someone who has been both throttled and cut off by O2 after “excessive” podcast listening) so their little pocket hard drive which can boost your iDevices storage to 500GB is pretty neat. Of course it’s not perfect – Apple did an amazing job of abstracting the file system away on the iPad and this brings it right back to the fore. And you only seem to be able to deal with media from the world of the hub – I could view a photo stored on the HDD, and even download it to the device but there didn’t seem to be a way to interact with it in the wider world of my iPad – editing images with the Photoshop express app for example or using stored video footage on the hard drive to make a short montage in iMovie. I’m sure a software update is being penned as we speak.
Logitech’s fold up iPad keyboard was a marvel of engineering. Unlike most iPad keyboard cases, which are forced to use the iPad’s 9.something” screen as limit for keyboard size – and therefore constraining the keyboards to cramped, hard-to-type-on devices, Logitech have created a super clever hinge mechanism the gives you a large and satisfying chic-let keyboard. And when you are done typing, it hides away behind your iPad case.
Another iPad keyboard case that caught my eye was this one by Skech that had a removable magnetic Bluetooth keyboard that you could reposition for your comfort. We should have a review coming soon.
As you’d expect, premium TV Loewe manufacture had some high-need eye candy to induce some serious jealousy among the crowds. With the Loewe Pivot, the pivoting 21:9 format wide screen automatically positions itself horizontally or vertically – as usage requires. In this way, the multimedia TV can serve as an information terminal or an exclusive home cinema system, for example in a business scenario. And with the help of screen art, it can also create a uniquely individual atmosphere.
The Loewe Module study on the other hand focuses on the way in which “young people” use different media in parallel. Whilst racing on a virtual track on the main screen, a simple glance at the adjacent screen affords contact with other players or an overview of friends’ latest posts on facebook. I’ve envy anyone with the concentration to pull this off.
My favourite was the Loewe Mirror, which creates wholly surprising, almost magical effects – such as virtual leaves swirling around the mirrored wall. You can also just start at yourself in the shiny surface and think “I bought this“.
Seeing hundreds of gadgets in the same room you sometimes get a little blasé so it’s good to occasionally be amazed by something. Hands down the best thing I saw was the Samsonite Micro Scooter luggage case, which is as the picture shows, a suitcase with a scooter attached. Maybe if I hadn’t been lugging my hand luggage around a busy conference centre I wouldn’t have been quite so enamoured with the idea but at the time it looked like the greatest invention in since the wheel, was the wheel with a cabin-safe bag attached.