Pocket-lint is back from Berlin with all the coverage of IFA 2012 freshly sewn up and on our pages for all to see. We've perused the press conferences, touched up the touchscreens and caressed the keyboards of every gadget that every manufacturer of every nation had to offer.
Now that we've had a moment to step back from it all and scratch our beards, this is how the members of the Pocket-lint team see the lie of the land and consider how consumer technology has or hasn't changed since the Messe Berlin flung open its doors.
Chris Hall, Editor
Most exciting gadget: The Samsung Galaxy Camera
Because it's whacky, and I really can't tell if it will work. Samsung Galaxy Camera hands-onBiggest surprise: Sony NEX-5R
With Photokina around the corner, I really didn't expect to see it appear before the dedicated photo show. Sony NEX-5R hands-onOn IFA 2012:
IFA 2012 saw a growing trend towards mobile. With television, typically IFA's strong point, moving towards larger, higher-definition, sets, it was the focus on portability that we really noticed. Windows 8 was high on the agenda, with a run of hybrid PCs and tablets. We saw the arrival of mobile phone updates and accessories to support everything mobile. And even when it came to TVs, we had companies like Philips demonstrating how you could move content off your TV, back to your iPad.
Danny Brogan, Contributing Editor
Most exciting gadget: Samsung Ativ S
Being something of a mobile phone connoisseur (ahem), it was the smartphones at IFA that really caught my eye. Obviously the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is what everyone is talking about - and it does look amazing - but with Windows Phone 8 just around the corner, the Samsung Ativ S looks a lovely piece of kit too. Biggest surprise: Kaz HiraiSony's honesty. New Sony President and CEO Kaz Hirai used the company's press conference to speak honestly about a difficult period the manufacturer has had to endure. It was refreshing to hear and the good news is Hirai appears to be the ideal man to lead Sony back into more-prosperous times with some intriguing Sony products in the pipeline.On IFA 2012: Hybrid tablet/laptopsIFA 2012 will go down as the year of the Windows 8 hybrid laptop/tablet. HP, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba all unveiled at least one device that will run Microsoft's latest operating system when it arrives on 26 October. Though they took precedent, I also enjoyed seeing what the future holds for technology such as Haier's TV demo that enables users to change TV channels with the movement of their eyes - even if we're a few years from seeing it become mainstream.
Dan Sung, Editor of Features
Most exciting gadget: Asus Vivo Tab RT
It turns out getting hit over the head with these things until you actually want one works. With the Android-running Asus Transformer series such a hit, it'll be interesting to see if a genuine Windows equivalent can make for a decent alternative tablet experience. Asus Vivo Tab RT hands-onBiggest surprise: The lack of AV
So, we did see a few interesting TVs in the shape of the 4K-resolution machines but IFA has traditionally been far more AV-centric than what we saw this year. It might be that everything is 3D now and the manufacturers have rather run out of ideas. More likely though, it's the changing face of consumer technology in general. Personal devices - phones, cameras and tablets - seem far more important at the moment.On IFA 2012: Software makes hardware
Interesting to see how one facet of an operating system - namely Windows 8 becoming touch - can make such a profound effect on what so many manufacturers decide to create. Interesting that it was only Sony which thought to do something different with the idea, in the shape of the all-family, all-touch desktop machine, the Sony Vaio Tap 20. Not sure I'd want one though.
Mike Lowe, Contributing Editor
Most exciting gadget: Samsung Galaxy CameraSamsung's Galaxy camera. Android 4.1, 10x optical zoom and connectivity that could mean - finally! - a company has made a bit of a leap on the Wi-Fi cameras front. It's exciting because an open-source OS means there's loads of free content that can be bagged and sharing should be easy. However, Samsung's decision to make the camera roughly the size of a house (partly thanks to the huge 4.77-inch screen) will be a problem for many prospective buyers, and, at least in the UK, the shortage of free Wi-Fi hotspots will limit the full potential. Biggest surprise: Sony NEX-5R cameraIt's a surprise for a couple of reasons. IFA isn't a traditional launchpad for cameras, and, more importantly, it's also a Photokina year. The latter show kicks off in just a couple of weeks. So, why do it now?Or maybe it's not that surprising for Sony to show off its wide range of tech at IFA and leave some space for the rumoured - but expected - NEX-6 and an Alpha A99 cameras at Photokina instead.On IFA 2012: Windows 8 and 4K TVOn the consumer side, and whether you love it or hate it, it's all been about Windows 8. That meant pretty much every single Win8 device was touch-enabled. That's possibly great for tablets and laptop-cum-tablet hybrids, but it just feels odd on a straight-up laptop or Ultrabook.Then on the "almost-consumer-but-not-quite-there" side it was the battle of the 4K tellies. But for now they're just too large and too expensive to be considered by most people. Oh, and there's still no proper 4K source content anyway. Sony 4K TV
Hunter Skipworth, Contributing Editor
Most exciting gadget: Sony Xperia T
I really enjoyed the Sony Xperia T. Having a bit of a soft spot for Sony's phones, it was nice to see a handset that could genuinely compete with the rest of the big boys on specs. Sony Xperia T hands-onBiggest surprise: Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XLA manufacturer starting to make waves in the realm of mobile, Huawei's D1 Quad was incredibly quick, light and had a massive battery to boot. Definitely a phone we want to play with for longer. Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL hands-onOn IFA 2012: A good-all-round yearIFA initially seemed to be just a glorified Samsung Galaxy Note 2 launch with some other manufacturers thrown in for good measure. This changed almost as soon as the show got started. We knew Windows 8 tablets would make an appearance, but not to the extent they did. Nor had we guessed manufacturers would roll out as many smartphones as they did. In the end IFA became a show about nearly every corner of technology, from OLED TVs to Windows RT tablets.
Stuart Miles, CEO and Founder
Most exciting gadget: Samsung Galaxy Camera
Why? Because it shows that cameras are about to get a lot more exciting in the future with different apps and the ability to quickly share. The proof will be in the deliverance of the concept though. If it's just Android with a better camera, then that is going to be a pretty lousy experience.
Biggest Surprise: Lack of Home Entertainment announcements While Samsung, Sony, and Philips launched lots, none really focused on televisions, blu-ray, 3D, or other home cinema areas. Samsung and Sony was all about phones, tablets, and laptops, while Philips about speakers and cooking gadgets. There wasn't anything major from Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp, Loewe, LG, and others either. Have the Home Entertainment divisions run out of ideas?
On IFA 2012: Windows 8 tablets everywhere
The clear trend for me was the introduction by many manufacturers of their Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Everyone from Asus to Samsung tried to show us what they have in store for Microsoft's new operating system with varying effect. Interestingly there seems to be no clear vision or guidelines as to how to implement typing and touching and that has led to some wacky ideas.
© copyright Pocket-lint 2012