The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin – more commonly known as IFA – is one of the leading consumer electronics shows of the year and each year, the organisers invite selected journalists to the Global Press Conference – a pre-show held months in advance – to discuss some of the products and trends we’re likely to see at the main event.
The IFA 2015 GPC was held in Malta and after three days of product tours and talks, it’s clear that Android is spawning an era of new ideas in electronics. Android’s rise in mobile has been well documented and the global dominance has also led to manufacturers inventing new ways to use the smartphone platform.
One of the new products shown at IFA 2015 GPC was the ZTE SPro 2; a mobile pico-projector powered by Android that has the possibilities of combining the markets of mobile and television. The SPro 2 features a 5 inch display and is powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB RAM and the Android 4.4 KitKat OS. The ability to project a screen up to 120 inches in size means the SPro 2 can be used as a portable mobile television, allowing you to project streaming and on-demand services on any flat surface.
Moving on from mobile devices and televisions are getting the Android treatment as well. At the GPC, Phillips announced that 80 percent of its Ambilight televisions in 2015 would be powered by the Android Lollipop platform and they also announced a smartphone-powered heat pack that uses blue light to target troublesome spots in your back.
From televisions to wearables and Haier’s smartwatches for Children and the elderly that allow you to track the recipient. The smartwatches have microUSB, GPS, a speaker and a microphone and are connected to a companion app on your, the parents, phone. The app allows you to specify an area that you’ve designated as a safe zone, that you’re happy for your children to be in when they’re away from you.
It can be as large as a town or as small as a street and when your kid leaves that zone, you receive an alert on your phone. You can communicate with your child using the built-in microphone and speaker and there’s a red SOS button for them to press when they’re in trouble which will alert you on your phone. The version for elderly people is identical but designed to help you keep track of the elderly, which could be really useful when caring for someone with dementia.
Back to IFA itself and when questioned by myself, the organisers confirmed that Chinese OEMs – such as Lenovo, ZTE, HiSense and Huawei – would all be exhibiting at the event itself. With the rise in Chinese OEMs over the past year, there’s expected to be a large presence of companies from China and this is likely to lead to several new Android-based products, both in mobile devices and beyond.
Overall, one of the key things we took away from the IFA 2015 GPC was that Android is a powerful platform allowing manufacturers to be creative in their product design. Rather than develop their own proprietary user interfaces, the Android platform is allowing manufacturers to develop smarter products in the IoT space that would not otherwise have been possible.