This week was all about the annual IFA tech conference in Berlin. Traditionally one of the highlights of the tech calendar, Europe’s largest tech trade show was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic - like everything else - in 2020. And yet, the organizers decided to still have a physical show in combination with an extensive digital experience.
The IFA is particularly special to us at NextPit as it’s a ‘home show’ for us. Here are our winners and losers from this, a very unique, IFA conference in Berlin.
Winner of the week: Honor carries on regardless
Honor has not been making laptops all that long but has already achieved significant growth. Sales between Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 are up 287%, although we didn’t get numbers at the show. The new Honor MagicBook lineup was one of the few product launches at IFA 2020 that caught my eye. The new AMD Ryzen 4000 architecture is impressive and these are launching at prices that should make those looking to buy a MacBook (who are not slaves to the Apple ecosystem) to seriously consider picking one up. The Honor Watch ES also looks like a worthy competitor to the attractive Oppo Watch, among others.
The Honor press conference felt to me like the best attended of the major smartphone (among other things) manufacturers that attended the spooky and strange IFA 2020 in Berlin this year. It helps that Honor has a marketing HQ in Europe, so was able to put presenters on stage where several others had to make do with a pre-recorded video press conference.
Honor is no longer the ‘baby brother of Huawei’ or some unknown ‘Chinese brand’ that makes affordable phones. Like Realme, Honor is quickly becoming a brand for the younger generation. For those who want solid hardware that looks good and has the social and creative features they crave, but doesn’t cost them their student loan.
Huawei also had a presence on the show floor with perhaps the only booth that would not look out of place at IFA in a ‘normal’ year, but it was Honor that made IFA feel like a show worth writing about, with a proper press conference and exciting product announcements.
Loser of the week: the sad state of a global pandemic
Whilst we still turned up to IFA this year, masked and socially distanced, many who journalists who don’t live in Germany were unable to attend the show. The general public, for whom IFA represents a chance for Europeans to get their hands on the latest tech products from the world’s biggest and best manufacturers, were understandably shut out this year.
There is a lot to praise the organizers of the IFA for here. The show went ahead as planned and without major incidents. I did not see a single person not wearing a mask or being socially irresponsible. Safety measures were adequate. Hand sanitizer was everywhere. I felt safe.
And yet, there was something poignantly sad about the show in Berlin. The press conferences weren’t all dam squibs, but the excitement just wasn’t there. Browsing the booths for cool new innovations is one of the most exciting parts of being a journalist at the IFA, but a tour of the show floor took me less than half an hour. I missed catching up with contacts and fellow tech writers and content creators. Weirdly, I missed running around from appointment to appointment, being busy, and dare I say it, stressed. As the pandemic roars on, I’ve never been more anxious to get to the other side of it. The industry needs it. I need it.
Fairplay for having a go. As the famous saying goes in Britain, keep calm and carry on. But it is with a heavy heart that we feel obliged to name this IFA Lite 2020 as our loser of the week this week.
Who were your winners and losers of the week just gone? Have your say below the line.
More from IFA 2020 in Berlin: