BERLIN -- About 250,000 people are expected to descend on IFA to look at everything from smartphones to TVs to washing machines. IFA, once called Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, began in 1924 as a show about radio and has evolved into Europe's largest consumer electronics and home appliance show.
The six-day exhibition and conference will introduce visitors to 1,400 exhibitors spread around the Messe Berlin fairgrounds.
Like the Consumer Electronics Show, its U.S. counterpart, visitors will have a chance to look at new products, while a select few will get to go behind closed door to see the latest and greatest still on the drawing board.
I've attended IFA for several years, mostly to get a sense of the differences in technology adoption between Europe and the U.S.
While most products are pretty similar (everyone loves TVs, smartphones and tablets), European consumers seem to have a greater appreciation for energy efficiency and design. I'm often struck by how elegant some European designs are compared to their American counterparts, and Europe with its strict environmental laws leads the U.S. in energy-efficient appliances.
One example is OLED (organic light emitting diode) television. OLED TVs don't need a separate backlight like regular LCD or plasma displays. We've seen OLED stateside before, but mostly on small screens. At IFA, Samsung and LG are expected to show OLED screens as large as 65 inches.
We're also likely to see TVs that put today's high-def to shame. So-called 4K TVs have four times the resolution of today's 1080p sets. I don't expect any 4K sets at IFA to have price tags within consumers' reach or large demand until programming catches up, but it will be interesting to see how the technology stands today.
Many companies, such as Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Samsung, will be showing their latest devices optimized for Windows 8 -- Microsoft's newest operating system optimized for touch-screen use.
Samsung is also expected to unveil the Galaxy Note 2 -- a "phablet" with a 5.5 display, an HDTV-like 16:9 aspect ratio and a high-resolution screen. The company has scheduled a news conference for today at 11 a.m. Berlin time.
I'll be at the press conference not only because I'm interested in smartphones but because this will be Samsung's first public event after Apple's stunning $1 billion patent lawsuit victory over Samsung in federal court in San Jose last week.
All eyes will be on the Galaxy Note 2 and any other Samsung Android products to see if they have any features likely to get the attention of Apple's legal team.