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Top trends at IFA 2017

Berlin, Germany | AFP | With just a few months to go until the high-tech spending bonanza of the Christmas season, Berlin’s IFA trade fair is the place to spot the trends that will mark high streets this year. Here are a few of them:

– Ultra-HD TVs –

IFA’s aisles are wallpapered with OLED screens this year. The technology dispenses with a backlight as each pixel illuminates itself — making for a very sharp image with strong contrasts, even in moving images. And the ultra-thin displays can be made transparent or even flexible.

The images buyers will be screening are also getting an upgrade, as the ultra-high-definition 4K standard becomes more widespread with sets starting at around 2,000 euros ($2,370). More video is being filmed in the high-resolution format that makes owning such a display worthwhile, with manufacturers betting public interest will follow.

And more and more TVs boast connections to internet video-on-demand services or applications, like Sharp’s latest models with an Android interface.

– Mobiles get chatty –

Manufacturers are still vying to cram as much screen as possible into their smartphones, like LG’s LGV30 with its “borderless” 5.7-inch display.

But the action can be found in the guts of the devices, where firms are racing to offer the most intelligent voice-activated digital assistants alongside typical upgrades to storage space or cameras.

This chatty artificial intelligence looks set to implant smartphones even more deeply into daily life, controlling connected gadgets around the home.

Samsung said it would strengthen its work with the Open Connectivity Foundation, aiming to help its voice assistant Bixby to talk more easily to other manufacturers’ products. And Chinese giant Huawei said it would join the vocal race with a chip known as Kirin to be built into upcoming smartphones.

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