Samsung has said it will not be attending the IFA technology show in Germany in September because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, it plans to hold a digital event in the same month.
The decision, confirmed by Samsung in an email to Digital Trends, will come as a blow to the organizer of the biggest tech show outside of Europe after it recently announced a revamp of the show designed specifically to encourage companies to attend.
The measures include closing this year’s event to members of the public, allowing in media representatives and exhibitors only. Attendees will also be limited to a maximum of 1,000 people per day during the three-day event. Such restrictions, IFA says, will make it easier for people to observe social distancing rules and also help to prevent overcrowding at locations throughout the site.
Samsung has been a regular participant at the Berlin event since 1991, using it to showcase its latest products. At last year’s IFA, the Korean company launched its redesigned Galaxy Fold smartphone and also caught our attention with its smallest (still 55 inches!) 8K TV to date.
IFA will now be waiting to see if any other big players pull out of the 2020 event in the coming weeks. If more companies follow in Samsung’s footsteps and decide it’s still not safe to take part in the event, IFA 2020 could be canceled. The event is still more than two months away, but with many countries still grappling with the first wave of coronavirus infections, and others concerned about a second, the situation may prove too uncertain for other tech firms to commit to attending the September event. European Union travel bans, which are currently in place for inward travel from the U.S. and Russia, among others, could ultimately seal the show’s fate, with everything dependent upon how the pandemic develops.
If IFA 2020 does fall, it won’t be the first major show to be called off in this way. Spain’s Mobile World Congress, Austin’s SXSW, and Los Angeles’ E3 were all called off in recent months after multiple participants started to pull out over coronavirus fears.