As IFA Nears, Expect Nothing But Tablets & 3D TVs…sigh

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IFA is upon us; think CES but bigger. The showfloor doesn’t open until September 3rd, but most of the news should drop this week as companies try to steal 15 minutes of fame before the flustercuck begins. And this year it’s all about Android tablets and 3D TVs. I know, exciting stuff.

You could almost feel the excitement at CES 2010 back in January. It felt like the whole CE market was on the verge of something big. Tablets and 3D TVs were the buzzwords but only the big players where showing off prototypes and first-gen models. All the mid-level consumer electronics makers had ereaders instead of tablets. But IFA should be a bit different now that the Chinese OEM factories are already pumping out slates and 3D TVs are commonplace. But you might not wanna get too attached to any of the products announced in the coming days; they might not be for you.

LG kicked off the their IFA releases with a slender, 2.9mm 31-inch OLED 3D TV. It’s supposed to be the “world’s thinnest” or something along those lines. The rest of LG’s news is predictable with 3D Blu-ray players and a full array of 3D TVs. While LG didn’t announce pricing or availability just yet, chances are they’re only for the Euroland market and not the States. Instead, we’ll get similar models with different pricing schemes.

Tablets are going to have similar story as well, but where most of the 3D TVs will have a US counterpart, many of the tablets won’t find their way over here. Instead, they’ll be sold in markets where they have a chance against the iPad with lower prices and open architecture. Of course some familiar brands will have their own tablets as well. ViewSonic announced the UK availability of its ViewPad 7 today, but failed to mention anything about a US release.

That’s going to be the trend over the next week. CE companies are staying away from the US tablet market. The iPad is simply too dominate and it honestly doesn’t make much sense for many companies to directly compete against the market leader when they can’t offer any real hardware or user experience advantages — yet.

But 3D TVs are different. Technically, 3D isn’t that big of a feature for companies to add to their models. It’s simply a different hertz mode combined with the proper firmware. It’s easy enough that 3D will be a standard feature over the coming years and the capability can already be found in most company’s high-to-mid-level sets. No doubt the vast majority of the TVs announced at IFA will be 3D. Now if there was something to watch…

Chances are there won’t be any blockbuster products announced at this year’s IFA. The iPad started the tablet revolution a few months back, but the real competitors probably aren’t ready just yet. Wait for CES 2011 for those. IFA instead should feature a more tablets than we can report, along with the standard assortment of random gadgets, HDTVs, and clock radios. Sigh.

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