Berlin - Crowds of consumer-electronics fans swarmed through Berlin's fairgrounds Friday, feasting their eyes on new video and audio products at the IFA trade show.
Europe's biggest annual gadgets event features 1,164 brands from 60 nations, and organizers said Friday they had logged journalists arriving from even more nations, 62, to report on the novelties.
Temporary cinemas demonstrated big-screen 3D movies, which manufacturers Sony and Panasonic hope to introduce on home television screens next year.
However some executives grumbled that too much talk of the future was distracting the public from the new products that are actually on display, including high-definition televisions and DVD players.
A focus of the show this year is a new technology for flat-panel televisions, light-emitting-diode backlights, which manufacturers say reduces power consumption markedly. Home appliances are also on display.
Unlike trade-only events such as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, IFA encourages crowd attendance, with masses of leaflets and plenty of products to try out, mostly held by steel cables to deter thieves.
"Would you like me to demonstrate our new television?" says one smiling hostess to anyone who will listen.
"Have you heard about our new coffee maker?" warbles another as she beckons.
At IFA, nobody goes home without having accepted several free cups of hot coffee from the hostesses.
Celebrity chefs from German television food shows were manning many of the home-appliance booths, demonstrating labour-saving kitchen gear and handing out titbits.
Sony brought to IFA its new Reader Touch Edition, a book-size device with a touch-sensitive screen to read e-books.
With US rival Amazon still not offering its Kindle reader device in Europe, Sony has a head start in Germany, Europe's biggest single market. The Touch Edition goes on sale in Germany next month.
Steve Haber, a Sony executive, predicted, "In five or ten years, every child will have an electronic reading device."
Sony is relying mainly on content distributed in so-called EPUB format, which is backed by the book publishing industry. Haber said the recent release by search giant Google of 1 million free books in EPUB format would give the business a big boost.
Publisher-supplied EPUB files can be copied to up to six devices. (dpa)