IFA 2014 Preview: What to expect from the world of mobile
UPDATED: Along with CES and MWC, IFA is one of the biggest events in the mobile calendar and we’re expecting some major announcements during IFA 2014, which takes place in Berlin, between the 5th and 10th of September. With Samsung and Sony both expected to launch flagships and other announcements besides there’s a lot to look forward to, so read on for all the news and rumours on what to expect.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will almost certainly launch at IFA 2014. Previous models all launched during the show and Samsung has even sent out invitations to an Unpacked Event on September 3rd, asking attendees to ‘Note the date’, which is clearly a Galaxy Note reference, so it’s coming and is set to kick the show off with a bang.
It’s not known exactly what the Galaxy Note 4 will offer, but rumours point to a 5.7 or 5.9 inch 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display, which should give the LG G3 a run for its money. It’s also been rumoured to have a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor or an octa-core Exynos processor, coupled with 4GB of RAM, which if true would make it the most powerful phone around.
There’s also talk that it might have an ever so slightly curved display to eliminate the bezel and it’s likely to inherit the fingerprint scanner, heart rate monitor and water proof build from the Galaxy S5, as well as apparently having a 12 megapixel camera and possibly even a retina scanner. In other words if all this pans out it’s going to be a tough act to follow.
While the Galaxy Note 4 is sure to steal the show, we may also see one or more new smartwatches from Samsung too. There’s talk of a Gear Solo which would have a SIM card of its own and so not rely on a phone for connectivity, while there have also been rumblings of a circular Samsung smartwatch and possibly even a new Tizen one.
We’re expecting some pretty big announcements from Sony too, with both the Xperia Z3 and the Xperia Z3 Compact likely to show up. However while the launch of a new flagship is normally a major event we’re not expecting big changes from the Sony Xperia Z3.
Rumours suggest a screen size of around 5.2 inches, with a 1080p resolution, a metal and glass chassis, a 20.7 megapixel camera, a Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM, all of which is more or less the same as the Sony Xperia Z2 had.
Some early rumours pointed to a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor but that idea seems to have slipped away recently, with the only likely changes that have been rumoured so far taking the form of a slimmer 7.0mm build and a PVD coating, which would make it more resistant to scratches, impacts and corrosion, as well as making it more environmentally friendly.
That’s hardly enough to get excited about and certainly not enough to justify an upgrade from the Xperia Z2, but we’re hopeful that Sony has some surprises up its sleeve. On the other hand we’ve already had the Xperia Z2 this year and that phone hasn’t even launched on any networks in the US, so it’s possible that Sony is simply refreshing it for a US launch.
In any case we’re also likely to see the Xperia Z3 Compact and that might actually prove more exciting. Initial rumours pointed to a modest upgrade over the Z1 Compact, with a 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 display, a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 20.7 megapixel camera.
But more recently we’ve heard that it might have a 4.6 inch 1080p display and 3GB of RAM. It could certainly stretch the definition of compact if that turns out to be true, but it would also be far and away the most powerful ‘compact’ phone on the market and a substantial improvement over the Xperia Z1 Compact.
Moving away from phones there’s a chance that Sony might announce the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact at IFA. This is largely expected to be like previous Xperia slates, complete with a waterproof exterior, but with a smaller, probably 8 inch screen.
We also might see the Sony Smartwatch 3 but don’t get too excited. Word on the street is that it will be square and won’t use Android Wear.
Motorola may or may not launch anything at IFA itself, but it’s sent out invitations for an event in Chicago on the 4th of September where we’re expecting to see the Moto X2 (or X+1 as it’s sometimes known).
We’re less sure that Motorola will bring anything to IFA, but there’s a solid chance that the Moto X2 (or X+1 as it’s sometimes known) will make an appearance as Motorola claimed it will be landing late this summer and IFA would fit the bill for that.
As with the Moto X, its specs aren’t anticipated to be at the cutting edge but they should be more than capable, with a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor currently rumoured and that’s likely to be coupled with 2GB of RAM, a 5.2 inch 1080p display, a 12 megapixel camera and up to 64GB of storage. Of course it’s also likely to come with a unique and customisable build, like its predecessor, allowing for various different colours and even a wooden finish.
Perhaps more excitingly than that there’s the Moto 360 smartwatch, which is also thought to be arriving at this event. It’s by far the most stylish smartwatch yet, thanks to a round face and premium build and it could be just what’s needed to help Android Wear catch on.
It also looks like we might see the Moto G2 there, which sounds a lot like the original Moto G, complete with a rumoured 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM, but with changes in the form of a larger 5.0 inch screen, an 8 megapixel camera, a slimmer bezel and stereo front facing speakers.
As busy a line-up as that already is we may yet see more devices either at Motorola’s own event or at IFA, as the company is supposedly also launching the Moto X Play, Moto S, DROID, DROID Maxx, DROID Turbo and Nexus Shamu before Christmas, though the Shamu is likely to appear at a separate Google event.
HTC is holding an event on September 4th where it looks to be revealing the world’s first 64-bit Android handset. It’s thought that this will be the Desire 820 and therefore a mid-range phone, despite its 64-bit credentials. Indeed it’s rumoured that it will pack the mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 615 chipset.
Whether HTC will announce anything else remains to be seen but the company is known to be working on a smartwatch so we may see that there. Knowing HTC that will be a premium affair which may even show up the Moto 360.
LG may only just have launched the G Watch but it looks like the company is already back with another smart wearable. The company has released a teaser video for a wearable that’s going to make an appearance at IFA. It’s clear from the video that it’s a watch and one with a round face at that. It doesn’t reveal anything else but it looks like the Moto 360 is going to have some competition.
LG has also announced that it will show off the new mid-range LG Stylus, complete with its 5.5 inch qHD screen and 1.3GHz quad-core processor, while there’s an outside chance that we might see a supercharged LG G3 Prime or the LG G Flex 2 too.
Microsoft is holding an event of its own at Berlin on September 4th, so expect some big announcements there. What exactly we’ll be seeing isn’t known for sure, but the image included a camera which looks a little like the camera on the Lumia 1020, so we may been getting a Lumia 1030 complete with a supercharged camera.
Instead or as well as that we may well see the rumoured Lumia 730 aka the selfie phone, which is expected to be a mid-range handset with a 4.7 inch screen and a 5 megapixel front facing camera.
Asus is another company that we’re expecting a smartwatch from and it’s tweeted hints that such a device will land at IFA. Little is known so far, though from a teaser image it doesn’t look like the device has a round face. But its key selling point may not be style but price, because Asus CEO Jerry Shen has been quoted promising a “relatively low price tag.”
We’re not expecting much from Acer, but the company recently listed the Iconia A3-A20 tablet on its website with little fanfare, so the slate may get a proper introduction at IFA. The initial listing points to a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 10.1 inch 1280 x 800 screen.
Huawei has sent out invitations to an IFA press event but it hasn’t hinted at what might be revealed there. However the company is rumoured to be working on an Ascend Mate 3, with a 6 inch 1920 x 1080 screen, 2 or 3GB of RAM and a 13 megapixel camera, so that may well be announced.
While these are the only things that we have anything approaching solid information on there are bound to be other phones on show at IFA 2014 and there may well be other wearables and tablets too, though IFA doesn’t tend to be big for tablets, so don’t expect any major announcements there. We’ll keep you updated as more news comes in, but there may well be some surprises.
By Kevin Thomas on 27th August, 2014
Tags: IFA 2014