Some of the interesting things on display at the IFA show going on in Berlin right now include a 150-inch plasma TV, super skinny laptops, a wall of beer, and a mouse that doubles as an aquarium.
IFA Berlin just opened to the public on Friday, and is still going strong on Saturday. Visitors from Berlin and from around the world are crammed into the sprawling Messe Berlin, where the gadget expo is taking place.
Here's a quick photo tour of some of the best stuff from this year's show.
The distinguishing feature of the skyline at the Messe Berlin is what I like to call the Fake Eiffel Tower. The real name is the Funkturm Berlin, which was built as a radio tower in the 1920s and hearkens back to IFA's roots. The show was inaugurated in 1926 as a radio expo, before expanding to all types of electronics in later years. While it's no longer a functioning broadcast tower, there is an observation deck and a restaurant on the tower. It also acts as a crucial point of reference for attendees making their way around this gigantic maze of a building.
Let's just say this: Berlin does technology shows right. For one, this booth, belonging to a company called Tobit Software, was a functioning bar. Service started as soon as the show opened at 10 a.m. Even CES in Las Vegas can't top that.
Besides beer, there's other fun to be had completely unrelated to technology at some of the booths. Take this climbing wall in the T-Mobile booth, where anyone could give scaling the wall a go. The connection to the wireless phones and Netbooks on display was slightly unclear.
And what gadget show would be complete without a giant robot? This hulking automaton is currently residing at Panasonic's booth. It's a character from the upcoming movie "Avatar," which Panasonic is using to promote its Full HD 3D television and Blu-ray products due sometime next year.
But for those who are just here for the tech goods, there is of course a ton of new gadgets that attendees can get their hands on, like Samsung's new notebook, the X3. The company claims it will have a 9-hour battery life. It weighs just under 4 pounds, has a 14-inch screen, and the matte casing will come in pearl white, titanium silver, and pearl black.
At less than half an inch thick and weighing 1.5 pounds, this Sony Vaio X, introduced Thursday, certainly could be one of the thinnest thin-and-light notebooks out there. It has a carbon fiber exterior that's so thin it's actually slightly flexible, which should help with durability.
Big, glossy high-definition displays are all over the place. Here's one from LG, a so-called "borderless" TV. There's a single sheet of glass and no space between it and the bezel, making it look a lot like an oversized version of the LCD screen on a MacBook Pro.
Philips' extra-wide widescreen display has a 21:9 resolution. The display appears blurry here because it's actually a demonstration of 3D video technology. However, Philips said it is just a prototype because it's just not quite ready for prime time. The company has no plans of making this a real product right now.
Though it certainly won't win any points for aesthetics, this could be practical if you have a habit of dropping your phone in swimming pools, toilets, or large bodies of water. The Sonim phone is built extra rugged so that it's able to withstand a variety of extreme conditions, apparently up to and including being submerged in an aquarium, as seen here.
Though likely not submergible as with the previous gadget, this customized mouse has its own built-in aquarium. It was one of many different funky takes on the computer mouse on display from a company called Pat Says Now.