IFA 2017: what to expect at the massive tech show in Berlin

UPDATE: The TechRadar team is in Berlin for IFA. We’ll be bringing you updates from  Europe’s biggest show as and when they happen.

IFA 2017 is here and it’s set to be one of the biggest tech shows in recent years. The TechRadar team has landed in Berlin and will be reporting on everything you need to know about the show. 

There was a time when CES Las Vegas was the go-to event for consumer tech, while IFA specialized in home appliances and white goods. Over the last few years, however, IFA has expanded and it’s now a serious competitor to its American counterpart. 

Sure, you’ll still get more than your fair share of connected fridge freezers and robot vacuum cleaners, but you’ll also not be able to swing an iPhone without hitting a piece of high-end audio gear, laptop, TV, or brand new phone that will call to your wallet like a mermaid on the rocks.

A couple of big hitters have already announced new products, including Fitbit and its Fitbit Ionic smartwatch and there have been a ton of rumors about next-gen TVs, wearables and about a billion speakers with voice control. 

Check out our hopes, predictions and expectations on what’s set to take the show by storm – as well as official news when it lands.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Europe’s annual technology blowout
  • When is it? Officially, IFA is open to the public from September 1 to 6, but press (like TechRadar) have access a few days earlier
  • What’s on show? Everything from Wi-Fi fridges to smartphones, giant companies like Samsung to first-time start-ups

Acer at IFA 2017

Acer went big on desktop gaming this year, announcing an an 18-core CPU, quad-GPU gaming desktop monster. The Acer Predator Orion 9000 packs an Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor, has an all-in-one liquid cooling solution and will arrive this December with prices starting at $1,999 (about £1,550, AU$2,510).

Acer also announced the  the Swift 5, Spin 5 and Switch 7 Black Edition. These are all powered by 8th gen Intel Core processors and include the first fanless 2-in-1 notebook (the Switch 7), the Swift 5 which has a multi-touch 1080p IPS touchscreen with a narrow bezel design and the Spin 5 features a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, a 13 or 15 inch screen and up to 16GB of DDR4 memory.

Samsung at IFA 2017

IFA 2016 was all about the smartwatches for Samsung, and we might well see a repeat performance at this year’s conference.

We now know all about the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 of course, and IFA 2017 will most probably be the first opportunity for anyone outside of the Samsung dev team to get some quality time with the big-screen device.

When unveiling the Note 8, Samsung also confirmed it would be launching a new Gear S smartwatch at IFA 2017, so that’s something to look forward to – it sounds very much like this will be the Gear S4, and it’s also very likely that Samsung has timed this to beat the Apple Watch Series 3 to market.

Also in wearables, we’re expecting to see the release of a Gear Fit 2 Pro at IFA 2017. Price-wise, it’s been leaked that it will cost $199.99 (about £160, AU$250) and, for that, you will get waterproofing and offline access to Spotify straight from the device.

Though tablets are less of a concern for the company these days, there’s a good chance Samsung may put out a slate to compliment this year’s Galaxy Tab S3, while the Gear 4 smartwatch making an appearance would continue Samsung’s tradition for displaying wearables at IFA.

And then, of course, there’s the smart home. Samsung’s been touting its ‘Smart Things’ ecosystem for years now, but with the explosion in voice-activated speakers and affordable Internet of Things devices, it’s a steadily growing area. With the white goods interaction the connected home offers, IFA 2017 will be the perfect stage for Samsung to show off some more of its efforts in the space. As for TVs, Samsung’s already shown off its 2017 range, so don’t expect any massive announcements like the unveiling of its Quantum Dot technology, but it may still find room for a 2018 TV tech tease, or a mad, never-to-be-affordable concept screen.

Sony at IFA 2017

Sony always puts on a good show at IFA, holding back a few flagship announcements for the autumn showcase along with some concept devices to set the mind wandering into the far-flung crazy tech future.

We’re fully expecting Sony to continue with its traditional 6-month flagship phone cycle, meaning IFA could be a good platform at which to launch the rumored Xperia X2.

Android tablets don’t really make the headlines anymore, but Sony’s slick, slim waterproof models are still among the best to sport the Google OS. We’d love to see another make an appearance. Likewise, Sony doesn’t seem as keen on smartwatches anymore, but new TVs, headphones, speakers and even some camera equipment are all safe bets for the show floor.

Fitbit at IFA 2017

It’s been a long time coming, but Fitbit has finally unveiled its first smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic. Though breaking cover a little ahead of the official opening of IFA 2017, it’ll make its public debut at the Berlin show.

Waterproof, slickly designed and (as you’d expect from Fitbit) fitness focussed, it opts for a square face and uses the company’s own Fitbit OS. With a 384 x 250 LCD reaching 1000 nits and built in GPS, you’ll get 10 hours of constant tracking from the Ionic.

At £299.95/$299.95/AU$449.95 it’s a bit pricey though – that’s more than the Fitbit Surge, and not far off the more feature-rich Apple Watch 2 and Android Wear alternatives. It’s a solid device from our hands-on look, and while it may not have the pocket-money appeal of other fitness trackers, those invested in the Fitbit brand looking for an upgrade will likely find much to enjoy.

LG at IFA 2017

If the rumormill is to be believed we are going to be seeing the LG V30 for the first time at IFA 2017. This would be a big departure from form for LG, given that a ‘V’ series phone has never been revealed at IFA before. Last year LG hosted a separate event in San Francisco at the same time as IFA to launch the V20.

We are expecting the V30 to carry on with the two-screen tradition of the V series up until this point. Following in the footsteps of a lot of the flagships of the moment we are expecting it to be bezel-less and have two cameras on the back.

But wait, there’s more – the latest word on the LG street is that the LG V30 Plus will also make an appearance at IFA 2017. It’ll have a larger screen, a bigger battery, more storage, and maybe a few extra goodies as well.

Huawei at IFA 2017

Huawei loves IFA. The Chinese brand has used the Berlin stage to go from cash-rich smartphone upstart to… cash-rich genuine mobile player.

It’ll continue its rise towards the smartphone elite this year, with the company likely to show off its Mate 10 phablet and mid-range Nova additions at this year’s event.

Huawei also often uses IFA to waggle its wearable-adorned wrists, so expect an update to the Huawei Watch line, and iPad Pro bothering MediaPad tablets.

Philips at IFA 2017

IFA is always a good show for Philips. With one foot in the living room with its TVs and… several other feet in other rooms of the house with its connected tech line-up, there’s always a diverse array of products on display from Philips.

The company has already hinted at a sparkling new connected toothbrush product, but its connected lighting Hue equipment always gets a nod. In addition to this, its Fidelio speakers could get an Alexa-enabled smart injection, and its TP Vision-powered screens are likely to get their annual refresh too. Its Ambilux UHD TV from a couple of years back was a showstopper – here’s hoping they’ve something similarly mad this year.

The rest

There are hundreds of exhibitors at IFA 2017 – the above are just those that have given the biggest hints at what to expect from their labs at this year’s show. We’ll keep this page updated with all the biggest leaks and news in the run up to the show, but here’s the five-second rundown on some of the other major players in the industry yet to show their hands.

Alienware / Dell: Gaming all the way here – 4K screens and Max Q internals will again take top billing.

AMD: Ryzen 3 is unlikely to make an appearance at IFA 2017, but AMD’s having a good run at the moment against its GPU rival Nvidia, so expect to see some gaming gear with AMD internals garner praise.

Asus: Zenfone Android devices will likely make an appearance, but rarely bother than Android top-dogs. What’s always fun though is the ASUS gaming gear – Republic of Gaming desktops, monitors and pixel pushing laptops will be the most exciting items on show from Asus.

HTC: With phones taking a back seat at recent show’s for HTC (with the exception of the ‘A’ line), virtual reality gear is likely to be HTC’s show focus if it makes an appearance. Given that HTC is making two different standalone headsets, one with Google, and one on its own platform there is a (admittedly slim) possibility that we could get our first glimpse at IFA. Unlikely, but we can dream.

Harman Kardon (JBL/ AKG):  The audio giants always hit IFA hard, with everything from luxury headphones to Bluetooth speakers and smart audio gear on offer from each of the three brands. Given that its Cortana-powered speaker Invoke is due to go on sale in autumn, we would be surprised if we don’t see the Alexa competitor here.

Intel: With Kaby Lake out in the wild, expect to see plenty of laptops, convertibles and desktops running Intel’s speedy and power-efficient processing tech.

Nokia: Hot on the heels of its Nokia 3310 revival, Nokia (as a phone company) is on a relative high. While it’s not yet given away any IFA 2017 plans, it’d be the perfect time to show off its rumored Nokia 9 Android flagship.

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