Inside IFA’s iZONE: a hub for the latest innovations in the mobile accessory market

IFA’s iZONE is where the insatiable world demand for mobile accessories meets the endless ingenuity of developers and manufacturers.

A fixture at IFA for the past eight years, it has established itself as the global focus for makers, developers, buyers and sellers of products for mobile phones, tablets and all forms of networked communication. More than ever before new devices were on offer to help integrate mobiles into all lifestyles: in the home, in the office, on the road and in the great outdoors.

Spread this year over three distinct sections in halls 12, 14 and 15, the zone drew crowds throughout IFA 2018.

In 2016 the net worth of the global mobile accessory market was put at $62bn, with growth driven by increased mobile phone penetration in territories like India and China. The accelerating pace of new designs, and the increasing capabilities of each new generation of mobile phones is also a major driver of growth. As phones become more powerful and central to people’s lives, the need for faster, more convenient charging options and better data storage has increased dramatically.

Wireless and smartwear remained the overriding themes, with wireless chargers, cable-free speakers, earphones and smartwear dominating many stands. With more and more phones now equipped for cable-free charging, 2018 seems to have been the IFA at which wireless charging finally made it to the mainstream. A perfect example was the Adonit auto-clamping wireless charger. A dual charger and car mount, it brings wire-free fast charging and hands-free together in one clever package for motorists everywhere.

Handset security and protection for increasingly sophisticated and expensive mobiles was another key growth area. Case and glass screen manufacturers were in high profile, with products to meet every conceivable fashion taste and price point. At the aspirational end were luxurious designer phone and tablet cases from Danish firm dbramante. The firm only uses high-quality full-grain leather for its artisan-created cases which are designed to improve with use and age.

With data-hungry applications like photography and video proving another major area for expansion, a slew of data cards, storage banks, and ash drives was on offer.

Across the stands, exhibitors reported brisk business, and some said they’d been busier than ever. “We have been taking good traf c on all days,” said Alex DiCecco from US rm, Scosche. “It’s always our most important European show,” he added. Scosche, who are based in California, were in Berlin with a wide range of wireless add- ons including the BoomBuoy floating waterproof speaker, which allows users to take their music into the most extreme environments.

Clever solutions to some of mobile’s niggling problems were to be found everywhere. For instance Miggo’s Pictar camera grip is designed to solve the ergonomic problems associated with mobile phone photography. iPhones slide and clip into a camera-like holster from which the phone’s photo functions can easily be controlled, even one- handed. The Pictar can also be attached to a tripod and has a dock for traditional- style camera accessories, including ash units.

Ultra-portability was one of the iZone’s mantras, particularly in the field of office accessories. One example was the new IRIScan Anywhere 5 mobile scanner designed with mobile life in mind, the compact stick-like unit links cordlessly to phones, tablets and computers and scans an impressive eight pages a minute at 300/600 DPI.

Fun also had a place in the iZone’s 2018 offering. Italy’s mojipower was attracting attention with its eye- catching array of novelty charging packs whose shapes included famous perfume brand bottles, cartoon characters and classic video- game characters. A colourful, wearable alternative to tangles of headphone and charging wires was offered by UK company, Wraps. The earphones and cables double as stylish and comfortable bracelets, so they are readily available and eliminate the frustration of scrabbling for them in the bottom of a bag or pocket