This year’s IFA conference is set to kick off in Berlin next week, where we expect a slew of new tech to debut.
From new smart home devices and AI-powered experiences to the latest and greatest in desktops, laptops, and smartphones, IFA tends to be a tech potpourri. We’ll be looking out for new devices across the computing spectrum, not to mention some shiny OLED and 8K TVs, wearables, and even some VR headsets. Check out our full rundown of what we expect to find roaming the halls of the cavernous Messe Berlin conference center.
Laptops and Desktops
There will almost certainly be new laptops and desktops at IFA this year, but don’t expect a drastic departure from models currently on the market. The most noteworthy improvements will likely focus on CPU and GPU upgrades. Nvidia just took the wraps off its new RTX 10-series flagship gaming GPU lineup, so it’s possible we could see some gaming desktops updated to include it.
Most of the PC action will likely center around Intel’s mainstream laptop chips. Microsoft and Qualcomm have been pushing laptops with always-on LTE connectivity and days-long battery life. However, existing models with these characteristics, like the Asus
Even if there aren’t any new chips, a few of those ultraportables could be announced at IFA. Acer, Lenovo, and Dell all have significant presences in Berlin, and there’s no shortage of brand-new features, like HDR displays, that just hit the market and are poised to trickle down to cheaper models.
Devices that integrate with voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant will likely be widespread. Not to mention Philips, LG, Samsung, and several other smart home vendors that will be at the show.
Things will be quiet in the phone world at IFA this year. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 already out and reviewed, there isn’t likely to be a big mobile release. That said, Samsung is holding a press conference. Even if we don’t see a new phone or wearable, we may at least get a look at some new smart home devices, and of course TVs.
LG is another company that has already launched its main mobile products, including the flagship LG G7 and the LG V35 phablet, meaning it likely has the same plans as Samsung. Expect more smart home and TVs; not very many new phones.
However, Huawei’s Honor brand is holding a press conference. Rumors indicate there will definitely be a phone. It’s possible we’ll see a device powered by the new Kirin 980 processor, which has a dedicated AI core and a focus on the intelligent camera technology we’ve previously seen from Huawei. It’s likely no coincidence that Huawei’s keynote scheduled on Friday, Aug. 31 will also cover AI. Rumors suggest the Huawei press conference (Huawei and Honor effectively operate separately) will bring the Mate 20, a flagship phablet that could measure 6.9 inches with a triple camera sensor setup.
It’s been a while since we heard of any new products from HTC, aside from its plans for a blockchain-powered phone called Exodus. The last phone HTC launched was the U12+, and the latest indications we’ve seen suggest there may be a midrange version of the flagship called the U12 Life on the way. Teasers posted to Twitter point to an Aug. 30 launch.
Sony always has a significant mobile presence at IFA and so far we have no reason to think this year will be any different. Upgraded versions of the Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Compact, and XZ2 Premium are all possible. A rumored XZ3 may include dual camera sensors, a slimmer body, and perhaps the latest Snapdragon 845 processor. Sony also typically launches several audio products at IFA, so be on the lookout for new headphones, speakers, or a more unique device such as a smart projector. We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for Sony’s lineup.
Alcatel (BlackBerry’s hardware partner) unveiled a whole range of products at IFA 2017 and this year’s Mobile World Congress. At IFA 2018, it’s possible we’ll see something similar. We’d place a bet on an affordable flagship-level successor to the Idol 5S and perhaps additional variations to Alcatel’s entry-level and midrange lineup. On the BlackBerry end, we’ve been hearing rumors about a new touch-screen-only device and potentially a new Palm device, though the latter seems more farfetched.
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Motorola’s entire G and Z-series phone lineups are out, but that doesn’t mean we should entirely rule out potential launches. The Moto X4 is starting to age, and the company has been pretty quiet about its plans for the device. As a solid midrange and unlocked Android phone that’s also available on Android One, it could fill a niche that isn’t currently occupied by the Moto G6 or Moto Z3. AI is featuring heavily in keynotes as well, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see more Alexa-powered devices, though they may not necessarily be phones.
Nokia (now owned by HMD Global) doesn’t seem like it will have a presence at IFA, at least not the mobile division. That said, there are rumors about the A1 Plus and Nokia 9, which are anticipated to be large phablet-sized flagship phones with the latest hardware and software.
IFA has always been about TVs, and we expect to see a good deal fancy and expensive new 4K HDR, OLED, and even 8K TVs. Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, and Philips are all going to be at the show. Our hope is to see the price of OLED TVs drop to more reasonable, consumer-friendly prices. Higher-resolution 8K TVs are still more showcase items than affordable home devices, and consumers shouldn’t expect to see them in their living rooms just yet.
Wearables used to play big at IFA, but things have slowed. The Samsung Galaxy Watch was announced in a flashy New York City launch, and most other companies have generally seemed uninterested in putting out anything new in the space.
However, one company that will be there is Fitbit, which just revealed the Charge 3. There’s also Fossil, which may put out a trendy new lineup from Kate Spade to go along with the Michael Kors Access line.
We don’t expect any major VR headset announcements at IFA. HTC just added the new Vive Pro to its lineup at CES in January. Facebook’s Oculus, the other major standalone headset maker, will likely save any unveilings for its annual developers’ conference in October.
That’s not to say VR will be completely absent from Berlin. New potential innovations on display include Virtual Link, which aims to connect headsets to your PC with a single cable instead of multiple USB and HDMI links. We could also see new games and other apps that take advantage of Windows Mixed Reality headsets.