Galaxy S4 Launch

Why is it that so many products are launched at this time of year? Let me explain...

IFA hasn't even really started yet, but we are fully into pre-IFA product launch mode. Yesterday we had both Sony and Samsung launching new flagship smartphones and wearables in lavish Berlin press conferences, drowning out smaller IFA-based announcements from the likes of Panasonic and Lenovo, among others. At the same time Amazon UK attracted next to no coverage for its announcement of the UK launch of the Fire TV at a very reasonable price. Today we have Microsoft's first post-Nokia phone launch, and tomorrow we are expecting the Moto 360 smartwatch from Motorola.

And all of that is before we get to next Tuesday and the small, non-IFA related, matter of the iPhone 6 launch.

It's a lot to take in. Too much. So what is going on here?

IFA is becoming increasingly important for a variety of reasons. For one thing like CES in January is it well timed. At the CES show tech companies lay out their strategies for the calender year to come. IFA in early September is the perfect chance to send out consumer products that will sell in the all important fourth quarter of the year - the annual Christmas buying frenzy.

It's also the case that a good show will always get better. Once the tech media collectively decides that a show is worth attending, and once at least one big brand decides to go big at a show, all tech manufacturers feel like they have to compete to prevent their rivals stealing a march. It's why Sony is announcing the 'new' Xperia Z3 which isn't much more than a refreshed Z2, and why Apple isn't even at IFA but for the second year in a row is announcing key products in the same news cycle as that of the IFA show.

This year is more bonkers than previous years. In part this is because of the creeping forward in which all tech companies engage to try to get the most mindshare. Samsung got out first with a press conference yesterday, but did step aside and finish in time for Sony's to start. But in both cases the information had pretty much leaked already. Other vendors at IFA actually made their announcements last week, in anticipation of their press conferences to announce products about which they have already told the world.

It's great fun for us as publishers about consumer tech. But it's probably not the most sensible way of introducing new products to consumers. Ultimately, he who laughs last laughs loudest in this space, and the companies that succeed are almost always the ones that create products that satisfy a consumer need - regarldess of the launch strategy. Which isn't to say that the gadget you buy for Christmas this year isn't either at IFA or being launched around it. You know what, it probably is.

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