BERLIN -- IFA 2015 sits somewhere between Mobile World Congress and the Consumer Electronics Show in terms of global importance for the tech industry and at this year’s show we expect to see lots of smartwatches, 4K TVs and of course fridges that will send you a text message when you are out of milk.
The show, which officially runs from September 4–9 this year in Berlin will kick off on Wednesday, September 2 with press day with companies including Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, LG and Motorola all making announcements of some sort or another over the course of the show.
IFA 2015 may have lost some of its sheen as a result of Samsung’s decision to move its Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ unveils up a few weeks, but despite this the show promises to give us key insights into what to watch for in the next six months.
Here is what you need to know:
Samsung Smartwatches And Connected Ovens
As we have seen, Samsung has already unveiled most of the details of its Gear S2 smartwatch which it will show off for the first time in Berlin. Hopefully the South Korean giant will give us some indication of a release date and more crucially the price of the smartwatch, as well as telling us just what that rotating bezel is used for.
Away from shiny wearables, the company’s second press conference at IFA will focus on the Internet of Things. At CES in January Samsung president and CEO BK Yoon outlined in a breathless -- if overly simplistic -- keynote the company’s vision for the connected future. So expect to see ovens that can talk, fridges that can text and toasters that can email.
Motorola/Lenovo: 10 Things To Know
Lenovo, together with its Motorola subsidiary, will be unveiling up to 10 new products at an event on September 3 which is likely to include a lot of new Windows 10 laptops, tablets and 2-in–1s from Lenovo plus a couple of potentially more interesting devices.
The first of these is a rumored 5.5-inch Vibe P1 smartphone with Lenovo branding (rather than Motorola) which promises a huge 5000mAh battery. The second is the second generation Moto 360 smartwatch from Motorola. While some new reports suggest the launch won’t take place until September 8, it would be strange not to see it in Berlin next week considering the slew of leaks we have seen in recent days.
Elsewhere, we hope to get some clarification on the reports from last week which suggested that the Lenovo Mobile brand would be subsumed into the Motorola brand -- though those reports have since been denied by Motorola.
Sony Goes Big … Really Big
Sony just loves to launch smartphones. Its Xperia Z4 (or Z3+, depending on where you live in the world) was launched at the end of May, and here we are just three months later expecting the launch of the Xperia Z5.
Sony’s rapid-fire product launch cycle is nothing new, but what is new is what is set to be called the Xperia Z5 Premium, which promises to be the first smartphone with a 4K screen. Why? No one really knows, but the company will also round out its new smartphone range with an Xperia Z5 Compact.
Full details of the new smartphone range will come at the company’s press conference on Wednesday, September 2 but with Sony losing over $25 on every phone it sold in the last quarter, it’s going to need more than the world’s first 4K smartphone to succeed.
With Windows 10 still in its infancy, Microsoft’s keynote on September 4 is likely to focus on new products from OEMs rather than the announcement of any new hardware from the company itself.
It had been expected that Microsoft would launch its flagship Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL alongside the release of Windows 10 Mobile at IFA 2015, but that is not the case, with the company instead planning on a major hardware event later in the month where the new phones will be joined by an updated Band fitness tracker and a new Surface tablet.
LG Goes All 4K OLED
The South Korean company has said that “anyone who sees our newest TVs at this year’s IFA will walk away without a shred of doubt that HDR and OLED complement each other perfectly” -- with the company launching four 4K OLED TVs in total -- two curved and two flatscreen with three of them supporting HDR. The announcement has already been made about these TVs, but whether or not the new televisions live up to the claims made by LG will only be known once we get to Berlin.
Elsewhere we could yet see a Galaxy Note 5 competitor in the shape of the LG G4 Pro, alongside the 10.1-inch G Pad 2 which has been officially announced for display at IFA 2015.
Finally, in what could be a busy week for LG, we could see another Android Wear smartwatch with an update to the LG Urbane range replacing webOS with Google’s own software.
Huawei Feels The Force
The Chinese company, which has been making a big impact on the smartphone market over the last six months, is set to unveil its latest smartphone, the Mate S whose headline feature will be something called Incredible Touch that is akin to Apple’s Force Touch technology expected on the new iPhone 6s
Huawei’s Mate S is expected to have a 5.7-inch Full HD screen, 3GB of RAM and a 20 megapixel rear camera. Pricing and release date are unknown, but Huawei’s press conference is taking place on Wednesday, 2 September when we will know more.
The company should also provide an update on the availability of its circular smartwatch which it launched at Mobile World Congress in March, but has since said very little about.
What we shouldn’t expect is an announcement about the New Nexus smartphone the company is building with Google, which will be launched later in the year.