/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Photos: IFA through the years, a gadget evolution

Historic photos from the German electronics show take us on a tour of tech trends, including the first consumer VHS camera, early brick-sized cell phones, old-school video games, and even a few kitschy Euro booth babes.

michellemeyers.png
Michelle Meyers
IFAboothbabes1973.jpg
1 of 15 IFA

Booth babes 1.0

IFA, the annual gadget gala going on this week in Berlin, is the place for the world's consumer electronics companies to showcase their latest gizmos.
These historic photos, however, are a nostalgic reminder of how quickly future tech becomes obsolete--if not retro. Even the so-called booth babes have evolved (and yet also stayed the same, thanks in part to the return of 1980s fashions.)
IFA-Berlin dates back to 1926, originally organized as a radio exposition and then becoming a tool of the extreme right during World War II.
But this retrospective begins in the 1970s, when the show returned to Berlin and became an international affair, rather than a strictly German one. That was also around the time color TVs started to become more prevalent.
 Here's a photo welcoming attendees to IFA-Berlin in 1973. Note the show logo (left), which is still used today.
IFAshowfloor1973.jpg
2 of 15 IFA

Show floor

On this very IFA show floor in 1973, some of the technologies introduced, according to IFA, were quadrophony, infrared headphones, and the first dummy-head stereophonic broadcast.
IFAstereophonics1975.jpg
3 of 15 IFA

Dummy-head sterophonics

Two years later, in 1975, dummy-head stereophonics devices are still on attendees' minds (and on their heads, as shown here).
Also big that year, according to IFA, was a "traffic news detector system."
IFABildschirmtext1977.jpg
4 of 15 IFA

Video text

By 1977, video text was one of the technologies creating show-floor buzz.
IFAfirstVHS1983.jpg
5 of 15 IFA

First VHS videorecorder

IFA 1983 saw the introduction of the first consumer VHS video camera, presented here by Telefunken CEO Josef A. Stoffels (and a woman sporting a tied blouse and beads circa sometime in the early 1980s).
Other innovations that year, according to IFA, were TV sets with digital signal processing and videoconferencing.
IFAaudiotape1983.jpg
6 of 15 IFA

Cassette testing

Remember when the secret to a good mixed tape was a quality cassette? Here, in 1983, attendees test out the latest cassette tech.
IFA3DTV1983.jpg
7 of 15 IFA

3DTV

History does, in fact, repeat itself. Here's a 3D TV experiment set up at the Philips Pavilion at IFA 1983.
Flash forward to IFA 2009, and Philips is still talking 3D prototypes, albeit with a note of caution, as manufacturers insist 3D is (still) the next big thing.
IFApocketTV1985.jpg
8 of 15 IFA

Pocket TV

One of the novelties at IFA 1985 was this pocket TV made by Casio.
Attendees that year also got demos of some of the first HDTVs.
IFANokieGSM1993.jpg
9 of 15 IFA

Nokia GSM phone

In 1993, as the show's focus turned more to cell phones and digital media, Nokia presented one of its first GSM mobile phones, the Nokia 1011.

And if you're wondering what Robert Redford did that year to make the cover of that German magazine, IMDB tells us he starred in "Indecent Proposal," which won a Goldene Leinwand (Golden Screen) award in Germany.

IFAindianstyle1995.jpg
10 of 15 IFA

IFA promo 1995

By 1995, key technologies showcased were laptops and cell phones, as is indicated by this show promo photo.
IFAretroracing1995.jpg
11 of 15 IFA

Acer racer

A boy demos an Acer racing game at IFA 1995, just as video gaming was becoming a major player in the consumer electronics market.
IFAgamers1997.jpg
12 of 15 IFA

Gamers

By 1997, gamers were out in full force.
Also big that year were DVD players, and digital cameras and camcorders.
IFAemailwebcams1999.jpg
13 of 15 IFA

Email/Webcams

By 1999, e-mail was becoming a part of everyday life, as were Webcams.
Also big that year were MP3 players and smartphones.
IFAflatscreens2001.jpg
14 of 15 IFA

Flat screen

By IFA 2001, flat-screen TVs were impressing attendees.
IFAhedphonesmp32001.jpg
15 of 15 IFA

MP3 gadgets

And digital music technologies just kept getting more sophisticated. Here, at IFA 2001, a red head (an IFA favorite, as you can see here with Miss IFA) displays headphones with a built-in MP3 player.

More Galleries

2022's best TV shows you can't miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more

More Galleries

2022's best TV shows you can't miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and more

64 Photos
The best Nintendo Switch games to play right now

More Galleries

The best Nintendo Switch games to play right now

41 Photos
2023 Cadillac Escalade V: Ready to roar

More Galleries

2023 Cadillac Escalade V: Ready to roar

5 Photos
2022 BMW CE04 is a futuristic electric scooter built for today

More Galleries

2022 BMW CE04 is a futuristic electric scooter built for today

26 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2022 from Marvel, Netflix, DC and more

69 Photos