Europe’s biggest consumer electronics show, IFA 2018, will be back in Berlin this week. The event, which takes place at Messe Berlin from August 31 to September 5, 2018 will see major product announcements from brands such as Samsung, LG, Huawei and others. Like every year in the past, core product announcements will be centered around consumer electronics so expect to see a number of large televisions, foldable laptops and possibly smartphones.
While CES sets the tone for consumer electronics industry and Mobile World Congress in February shapes the mobile world for a full year, IFA does not necessarily come with any such baggage. It is safe to say that the event has been unpredictable with surprise announcements happening in areas that you would not expect to see. BGR India will bring you all the latest developments from Europe’s biggest consumer electronics show. In the meantime, here is a look at what to expect from major tech brands:
Samsung at IFA 2018
Samsung has always been the big player at IFA 2018. In the past, the company has shown its Galaxy Note series and in the recent times, the Korean giant had turned IFA into a launchpad for its Gear fitness tracker and smartwatch. With Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch announced at New York early this month and Samsung revealing that details about the Galaxy Home smart speaker will be shared at Samsung Developer Conference, the action completely shifts to large-screen television and home appliances.
At IFA 2018, Samsung is widely rumored to launch 8K QLED TVs as the next major evolution of its TV lineup. The reports suggest that Samsung’s 8K TV will play a custom 8K video in a loop to show the details and colors produced by the new panel. With QLED technology, Samsung has been promising faster refresh rate, better contrast, deeper blacks and overall improvements to color reproduction. The 8K TV should not be much of an exception. Also, Samsung will try to woo the European consumers with its 146-inch 4K MicroLED-based the Wall TV.
LG at IFA 2018
For LG, IFA has been the turf to launch new V-series smartphone. With LG G7+ ThinQ coming in the late first half of 2018, LG might delay the launch of next V-series smartphone to later this year. The rumors so far indicate that LG is working on a new V-series device, likely to be named LG V40 ThinQ, with five cameras but leaks indicate that it will arrive late in fall. Whether LG will use IFA as the launchpad for V40 launch remains a guessing game for now.
However, it seems certain that LG will use the IFA 2018 show floor to introduce its 175-inch MicroLED TV. Yes, that TV will be much bigger that what Samsung is bringing to the show and it would be the perfect way to fight with its South Korean rival. Apart from smartphones and televisions, LG has also been building up its ecosystem of smart, connected devices lately.
The company has been teasing the introduction of a bunch of new devices as part of its ThinQ AI platform. There is a possibility of LG launching its own smart speaker with a display powered by Google Assistant and might introduce home robot with its own digital assistant. The possibilities are endless in this segment and LG might have some surprise element there.
Sony at IFA 2018
Sony has long held a tradition of launching at least two Xperia branded smartphones at IFA. This year, the company might bring only one smartphone to the show. With smartphones getting smaller and having larger display, the Japanese giant might be doing away with its Compact series. At IFA this year, Sony might launch the Xperia XZ3, the successor to Xperia XZ2 showcased at MWC 2018.
The Xperia XZ3 is expected to pick from where the Xperia XZ2 Premium left off. The leaked renders suggest it might end up being just a cheaper variant of the premium model. It is expected to be powered by Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. It will offer a single rear camera setup and fingerprint sensor located at dead center. It is not clear why Sony still makes smartphones and the Xperia XZ3 might not have any answer to that question.
Apart from smartphones, Sony is also expected to showcase new range of wireless smart speakers for the global market. It might announce new range of truly wireless earbuds along with new range of speakers, both wired and wireless.
Huawei at IFA 2018
IFA 2018 might just end up being the year of Huawei, a Chinese company with global ambitions and ability to even dethrone Apple as second major smartphone brand. With Samsung not planning anything big, Huawei could throw all its hats and launch the Mate 20 series.
The Mate 20 series has been part of a number of leaks in the past few weeks and its launch at IFA 2018 seems imminent. The Mate 20 series is expected to include three devices – Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 Lite. The Mate 20 Lite, the cheaper of the three models, is rumored to feature teardrop style notch similar to Essential Phone. The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, on the other hand, are expected to feature a wider notch like iPhone X, to enable 3D facial recognition.
In the past, Huawei has scheduled a separate launch event for the Mate series and that might hold true for this year. However, Huawei is confirmed to reveal Kirin 980, its next-generation mobile chipset. The Kirin 980 is dubbed to be the first commercial mobile chipset based on 7nm process. The chipset should be much more powerful than Kirin 970 and also highly battery efficient.
Huawei CEO has already confirmed that Kirin 980 will include second-generation Neural Processing Unit and will power the upcoming Mate 20 series. There are also possibilities of Huawei filling the void left by Samsung and launch third-generation Huawei Watch at the event.
Lenovo at IFA 2018
Lenovo has always been one of the big names at IFA, despite not offering products in the segment like smartphones. At IFA this year, Lenovo is widely anticipated to launch the Yoga 930, its successor to Yoga 920. The laptop is rumored to be a convertible with watchband hinge and pack more powerful Intel’s 8th generation H-series CPU.
The company recently announced the ThinkPad P1, its 15.6-inch thin and lightweight laptop for business users. At the event, Lenovo might show the device to compete with Dell’s excellent XPS 13. Last year, Lenovo used the event to show its VR devices and at this year’s event, there is a possibility of hearing more about company’s Mirage Solo VR headset.
Motorola is not a big fixture at IFA but with parent company Lenovo launching new products, Moto might announce new smartphones. The company is rumored to be preparing to launch Motorola Moto One and Moto One Power smartphones at the event. The Moto One and One Power will be first Android-One based smartphones and could be priced lower.
BlackBerry at IFA 2018
BlackBerry is definitely launching a new smartphone at IFA 2018 this week. The company has officially revealed the teaser for what looks like the Key2 LE. The rumors so far indicate that Key2 LE will be a cheaper version of the Key2 but offer the same physical QWERTY keyboard.
Alexa and Google Assistant everywhere at IFA 2018
Every major tech company is aiming to takeover smart and connected device segment. However, in order to create a smart device, developers need to support either Alexa or Google Assistant. At IFA 2018, expect to see a wide array of smart wireless speakers with support for either Alexa or Google Assistant or both.
These digital assistants can also be seen inside home appliances ranging from refrigerators to wireless routers. Whether you like Alexa or Google Assistant, they are coming to every other device in your household.
Watch: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Look
Wearables at IFA 2018
Samsung Galaxy Watch may not be a big attraction at IFA this year but Fitbit and Fossil might emerge as big names at the event. Fitbit recently announced the Charge 3 and at IFA 2018, the company might showcase the device.
In terms of wearables, mainstream watchmaker like Fossil might have one or two smartwatch to show off at the event. With Google having revamped its Fit app for Wear OS, these companies might show updated design and ease of use on a new range of smartwatches. Huawei might launch the Huawei Watch 3 while LG might debut a new smartwatch to help Google spread a word about Wear OS.
Others at IFA 2018
IFA is a place for every kind of consumer electronics and this year will be no different. At IFA 2018, Acer and Asus are expected to show their new powerful gaming machines, which might include the new NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU for ray tracing. They are also expected to show new platform developments coming to Windows Mixed Reality for immersive VR experience. Panasonic and Philips are expected to show new home electronics while RHA is expected to launch world’s first planar magnetic wireless earphones.