IFA 2019: The Key Trends for the Display Industry and Beyond
Held from 6th - 11th September in Berlin, IFA 2019 was yet another successful year for the global technology exhibition. After last year’s event saw 161,200 square meters of show floor space completely sell out to 1,814 exhibitors, the 2019 event broke records once again.
This September, we saw an all-time high for international attendance with more than 50 percent of trade visitors traveling from abroad, cementing IFA as one of the world’s biggest technology events.
We’ve rounded up some of our picks from the near-2000 exhibitors, and also highlighted Samsung’s most attention-grabbing innovations.
8K technology continued to be a popular talking point, after also taking center stage at last year’s IFA event.
Since IFA 2018, consumers have come even closer to accepting 8K resolution which is why more consumer-ready 8K TVs were showcased than ever before.
At the event, Samsung announced a new 55-inch QLED 8K TV. This smaller size and lower price point enables more consumers to welcome 8K into their living rooms. This high-end and accessible display was a hit with the critics - it was even awarded the Best TV of IFA award by TechRadar.
Samsung also displayed larger models with the same technology, with the already available 65”, 75”, 82”, 85” and 95” models at IFA 2019.
Memorable 8K moments at IFA 2019 included:
Hisense exhibiting their 75” TV, and also announced a 85” 8K TV,
Sony bringing along their 85” and 98” models,
Sharp debuting their 120” 8K TV prototype, which was shown alongside their commercially available 60”, 70” and 80” models which all form part of their wider 8K ecosystem,
TCL unveiling the new 8K QLED X Series TVs available in 65”, 75” and 85” models; their 75” 8K Mini LED TV was also shown at the event,
Konka rolling out their new 85” model, while also showing 75” and 98”,
Skyworth announcing new 8K LCDs in 75” and 120” sizes, and generated discussion with their W-OLED 88” model.
MicroLED and Mini-LED
Another returning trend was MicroLED (very small LEDs that help create brighter and more colorful screens) and Mini-LED (a similar but more mature, transitional technology). At IFA 2018, MicroLED technology was in its early stages but still seen functioning in products, such as Samsung’s The Wall—the world’s first modular MicroLED 146” TV.
This year, Samsung showcased new sizes of the MicroLED The Wall, with the famous display now available in 146” and 219”, while other manufacturers continued to exhibit new Mini-LED innovations.
Other MicroLED and Mini-LED headlines included:
Sony placing their MicroLED Z9G TVs (available in 85” and 98”) on display,
TCL proudly presenting their 132" 4K Cinema Wall, and unveiling their 75" Mini-LED BLU too,
Hisense also displaying their own 75” 4K Mini-LED BLU TV,
Konka exhibiting their Mini-LED BLU 4K 75" unit,
Changhong debuting a 65” 4K Mini-LED BLU display,
Skyworth also showing their 65”4K Mini-LED BLU.
Since their first emergence at CES 2013, curved monitors have continued to make an impact at events. We saw this recently with their positive reception at the World Cyber Games’ esports conference.
The technology has continued to evolve with new use cases and a growing variety of sizes, curvatures, and resolutions now available.
At IFA 2019, we saw Samsung unveil new 27" FHD 1500R 240Hz and 49" DQHD 1800R 240Hz TVs. Both of these displays used RapidCurve™, which enables the lightning-fast 240Hz refresh rate.
Understanding the demand for curved monitors for gaming, Samsung presented a gaming experience zone featuring their monitors. Such is the popularity with gamers that Acer and Asus both announced gaming laptops with 300Hz curved monitors built-in.
That’s not all. Other curved monitor news at IFA 2019 came from:
Philips coming to the event with their B2B 55" 4K HDR1000, 31.5/27" 4K HDR 600, B2C 43.4/34" wide curved monitors,
ASUS revealing their 1.5/27" 4K HDR1000(Mini-LED BLU), alongside their gaming laptop screen, 17" FHD 144Hz monitor for portable gaming and a 34" QHD+ IPS Curved(1900R) monitor,
Lenovo debuting their 43.4" WUHD and 49" DQHD curved monitors, and also exhibiting their 27" QHD and 34” 1500R QHD displays.
One theme that could be seen widely at IFA 2019 was connected homes. Technology innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) sensors and voice assistants were deployed on many different products, with more and more items forming part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
At the event, we saw lots of Samsung’s SmartThings system. This allows consumers to control compatible appliances and electronics with the voice control assistant Bixby and a single, easy-to-use app. Its capabilities were shown with connections to various home appliances, such as air conditioning units, air purifiers, TVs, and the Samsung Air Dresser closet which airs, steams, dries, and purifies clothes.
Other talking points for connected homes at IFA 2019 included:
Both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant showing how they can also connect with various home appliances,
LG Electronics and Lumi United Technology (the largest IoT home technology company in China) unveiling how they will be collaborating on AI smart home services,
Lenovo revealing a smaller and cheaper version of Google Assistant-based smart display - the Lenovo Smart Display 7,
Eve Systems announcing four new HomeKit-compatible products - The Eve Extend (a range extender for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices), the Eve Light Switch (which enables consumers to have smart lights without changing all lighting in their house), the Eve Thermo (an improved smart radiator valve), and the Eve Water Guard (a water sensor that helps protect homes against leaks that will be released next year).
Robots and drones
This year, robotics made an impact with innovative functionalities and use cases.
During the IFA technology show, Samsung demonstrated a robotic arm cooking. Helping Michelin-starred chefs Michel Troigros and Michel Roux Jr., the cBot Chef acted a sous chef, stirring dishes and adding seasoning. As the demonstration host explained, “[The cBot Chef] gets to do all the boring parts, so you can concentrate on the more creative.”
Some of the other interesting displays included:
ExoAtlet’s medical exoskeleton that helps people with lower limb issues rehabilitate and walk again. This is already used in hospitals in Russia and South Korea, and awaits FDA clearance as to whether it will be sold in the US too,
The Aalto Explorer, which is a community-controlled underwater drone. Members of the public can view footage from its 360° camera online or via a virtual reality headset, all while steering the drone to help gather data on water conditions.
5G was also a popular topic, with the key focus being on improved connectivity.
Samsung showed off one of the first affordable 5G phones - the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, now available to buy in Korea and soon to launch in the UK (October 4th). The recently announced 5G variant of the Samsung Galaxy Fold was also exhibited.
Other talking points included:
Chipmaker Qualcomm’s keynote, which focused on how “everything is connected” and laid out exciting uses of faster mobile internet, including augmented reality, cloud gaming, improved video streaming, and connected cars (with Qualcomm and BMW also unveiling their pilot program to create the world’s first 5G connected car in 2021),
Huawei’s showcase of their Kirin 900 processor which was equipped with 5G, AI overload and 10 billion transistors,
Intel’s announcement of Core i9-9900KS in October, which also included a dig at AMD and their recent controversial Ryzen 3000 processors and their boost speeds.
Once again, IFA was an unmissable and fascinating event for all those involved in technology. With a broad range of innovations and emerging technologies on display, Samsung is proud to be at the forefront of many of these.
For more on display and digital signage trends, check out our ISE 2019 recap.