Three trends at IFA 2013: 4K fad, “432” tablets and the Hermit Crab paradigm

IFA has been for us a long and often tiring trek, with countless booth vendors trying to wow us with products and services that often seem to offer little more than the previous generation (blame the marketing department). Yet beyond the painful feet, the dreary eyes and sore heads, are three trends that we’ve indentified.

The stop-start “4K revolution”

Almost everyone that counts in the world of display had a 4K television on their booths at IFA but not everyone is willing to flood the market with 4K products. And there are at least two reasons why this is the case. There’s not enough native 4K content available on the market which might choke any attempts to popularize the technology, and manufacturers in general want to maximize the return on investments in full HD technology and are quite happy not to kickstart a price war. For now then, the 4K deluge, it seems, can wait.

The “Hermit Crab” technique

A recent trend that has been developing recently in the world of technology has been what I’d call the “Hermit Crab” technique. The Hermit Crab is a crustacean which occupies an empty, discarded shell.In essence, it is the licensing or acquisition, by companies mostly from Asia, of historically popular brands in western countries, brands that have lost their luster. Names like Polaroid, Philips, Lexmark, Alcatel, Thomson, IBM, Telefunken, Blaupunkt, Vivitar and Sagem have joined an ever growing club. It is, one might argue, the logical way forward as ODM/OEM (think Asus or Funai) expand their businesses and sometimes see an established brand as an easy way to penetrate a competitive market.

4…3…2: Numbers that counts for top of the range tablets

Four cores, three megapixel display, 2GB of RAM. This is essentially what one can expect to find (in terms of hardware) on a good top of the range white label tablet. And this kind of raw power is not as expensive as one might expect. Ebuyer sells a Sumvision tablet for £180 but prices will likely go down even more by Christmas. When I trawled the Taiwanese pavilion earlier today, I was quoted prices starting from $140 (when purchased in 1,000 units). My predictions? Such a tablet will be sold for well under £150 piling even more pressure on Apple to deliver something fast.

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