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Photos from IFA 2006: Gaffes and glitches

Organising a massive technology trade show in Germany takes months of preparation -- it's inevitable that there will be some things that don't go quite to plan...

There are several things you can count on when you attend a big German trade show like IFA 2006. By lunchtime, you'll feel like you've walked around the world at least once. You probably won't get any lunch, and if you do, it'll be a big chunk of meat, with a miniscule bread roll wrapped round it like an edible napkin. You'll get lost at least once. You'll miss at least one meeting because you're at one end of the show and your contact is at the other, half an hour away. And thanks to the mixture of cultures, languages and technology, you'll spot several things that are unintentionally funny.

For starters, there's the official IFA carrier bag (above). What's the message supposed to be? There you are on the right, a happy orange fishy in a big glass dishy, and instead of luxuriating in all that space and fresh water, you're going to leap into a much smaller bowl full of other fishes? It's an accurate summary of the trade show experience, but it's not exactly enticing.

A mistranslation on the Samsung stand produced the 'Crispy and Clear Multifunction Camera' (aka the SDC-MS61). It wasn't clear whether it was crispy like lettuce or crispy like burnt sausages.

Grundig's multilingual banners attempted to promote a hard-disk receiver by linking it to lime green shirts and railway lines.

Message to Grundig: trainspotting is not cool. Unless you're talking about the movie, and that was a while ago.

The Blu-ray Disc stand featured a promotional animation spread over six screens. It was eye-catching, it was technically impressive...

...it was a shame no-one had updated the virus software.

The Blu-ray Disc stand also had Blu-ray Disc girls applying temporary tattoos to the backs of the visitors' hands.

Social faux pas of the technological age: getting a Blu-ray tattoo applied to your hand when your trip to the show was sponsored by Toshiba, which produces HD DVD players. "It'll come off with hand cream," said the Blu-ray Disc girl. We rubbed, we scrubbed, we resorted to sandpaper...

Selling our soul to Blu-ray got us a packet of blue, salty, liquorice-flavoured sweets that were rated 'absolutely disgusting' by everyone who tried them. Conclusion: HD DVD tastes better than Blu-ray.

And finally... we can't bid farewell to IFA without mentioning the Hannspree televisions, 9.6-inch LCDs stuffed into cuddly giraffes and elephants. Why? Well, y'know, it's difficult to get kids to watch television these days... -ML