What to Expect From Samsung, Sony and Co at Germany’s Big Tech Show

Huawei may have packed a trio of new devices in its IFA carry-on luggage. In addition to the rumored Nova smartphone, a new leak suggests the Chinese firm plans to announce a Nova Plus variant and a MediaPad M3 tablet. We’ll know soon as Huawei’s press conference takes place on Thursday.

IFA 2016 is underway, and we’re more excited than ever to see what Berlin has in store.

TVs normally dominate the show, but last year saw an influx of smartwatches from the likes of Samsung, Motorola and Huawei. A number of phone announcements were also thrown in for good measure: Sony unveiled two Xperia Z5s, the Compact and the Pemium, while Huawei showed off the Mate Sand G8. And this year we’re set for more of the same.

The official IFA 2016 dates are September 2 to September 7, but lots of press conferences are taking place on Wednesday, August 31 and Thursday, September 1. Some of the biggest names in tech have descended on the Messe Berlin, and we’re on the ground to bring you the latest news and first-hand impressions of everything that’s announced.

Read on for a complete company-by-company breakdown of the news and rumors we’ve heard so far about IFA 2016, and head to Page 2 for some of our pre-show predictions.

Head to the bottom of this page to take our IFA 2016 poll!


Samsung Gear S2

It’s been quite a year for Samsung already, one that was recently punctuated by the debut of the Galaxy Note 7.

But Samsung isn’t done with 2016 yet. It has two IFA events planned, and we have a good idea what tech it plans to reveal at both.

The main draw of its August 31 mobile event and September 1 press conference looks to be the Gear S3 smartwatch. How do we know? Because Sammy gave it away.

The company’s press conference invite features two watch hands, strongly implying a smartwatch will highlight the event. With the Gear S2 announced at IFA 2015, it only makes sense Samsung is gearing up to unveil its successor.

Samsung IFA invite
Samsung’s August 31 mobile event invite

Samsung then followed the press conference invitation up with another one, this time for an event the day before. This invite is even less subtle than the first; not only does it feature a full-blown watch face, it also says “Talk about 3” and “Gear”.

It followed that up with a tweet about “a timely innovation”, so if Samsung isn’t ready to announce the Gear S3 after giving us these clues, we’re not sure what to think.

The different style watches on the dual invitations could be a hint Samsung will announce multiple versions of the smartwatch, and rumor has it Gear S3 Classic, Gear S3 Explorer and Gear S3 Frontier editions are in the works.

But watches aren’t all that’s buzzing about Samsung. Thanks to a posting on the company’s Colombian website, we know the Galaxy Tab S3 tablet is very real. It’ll have similar qualities to the Galaxy Tab S2, yet outshine it “with some innovations”, the website notes.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung teases the Galaxy Tab S3

While the post doesn’t specifically mention an IFA unveiling, it does say the tablet will launch to support the Galaxy Note 7 release in September. Though the Note 7 landed in the US in mid-August, it’s coming to other regions, including the UK, once September strikes.

All of this is to say that it makes perfect sense for Samsung to unveil the Galaxy Tab S3 at its IFA press event. The Tab S2 earned good marks in our review, though it stood to improve in a few areas, including battery life.

Other Samsung innovations planned for IFA include stuff on the home goods front, including its two-door Family Hub refrigerator for the European market. The firm also announced new curved Quantum Dot displays will be on hand, which we can’t wait to get our eyes on.


Sony always comes to IFA packing goodies, and this year it looks like the PS4maker won’t disappoint. It sent out a tweet on August 25 asking whether the world is “Ready to be inspired?”, so we can only imagine it’s ready to blow us away.

Just like the tweet, the invite for Sony’s September 1 press conference features a wide range of gadgets, from headphones to an Xperia phone to the PlayStation VR to cameras to a television set.

Sony Xperia X Performance

While Sony will likely limit its announcements to a few core products, we expect it to unveil at least one phone in Germany.

Recent benchmarks revealed a new Sony handset that’s sporting some serious high-end specs. Those include a Snapdragon 820 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 21MP rear camera and 12MP front-facing one, and a 5.1-inch 1080p screen.

The unnamed device’s specs line up with Sony’s current flagship, the Xperia X Performance, though are behind the Samsung Galaxy S7. The phone could be the long-awaited Xperia X2, and a big-stage announcement at its September 1 press conference seems likely.

Sony IFA 2016

Also on August 25, noted leaker Evan Blass took to Twitter to send out an imageof what he says is the Sony Xperia X Compact. The device is said to have a small 4.6-inch display, similar to the Sony Z5 Compact. Also of note is the relocation of the earpiece and speaker to sit more deeply into the bezel, as well as the front-facing camera, much like we’ve seen with the Sony Xperia X.

Though tiny, the new Xperia X Compact could pack a punch if it debuts at IFA this week.


Flipping back to the wearables theme, Fitbit is making the trek to Berlin this year, though what it’s packing is no longer a surprise.

Just days before IFA, Fitbit made the Fitbit Flex 2 and Fitbit Charge 2 official.

Fitbit Flex 2

Both bands house some exciting new features. The Flex 2, for one, can be worn while swimming. The Charge 2, meanwhile, is slimmer than its predecessor, though its screen has undergone a size upgrade.

This is the first major update for the Flex and Charge since 2013 and 2014, respectively. We’ll get our wrists on the new wearables – which cost $99 and $149, respectively – before long, so stay tuned.


With LG launching its V20 flagship phone on September 6 in San Francisco, it’s left many to wonder what exactly it will announce all the way in Berlin. Here’s what we’ve heard.


Word is LG will come to IFA with the third generation of its Flex line in tow, the LG G Flex 3. A PhoneArena report from way back in May suggests the LG G Flex 2successor will feature a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 screen, a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM, 16MP camera and, most intriguingly, a modular design.

LG went modular with the LG G5, so it could carry that over to the G Flex 3 – and the V20, for that matter.

Prior to IFA, LG announced a new line of Bluetooth speakers that it will feature at its booth. The PH1, PH2, PH3 and PH4 models look to be stylish accents for any setting, though we’ll have to get our ears on them to see how they stack up.

LG speakers

We can always count on LG unveiling new TVs at IFA, and LG has said it will demonstrate three High Dynamic Range (HDR) technologies at the show, including Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) technology.

What’s more, the firm says it “will be the first to publicly demonstrate HDR technology combining High Frame Rate (HFR) with HLG content.” Able to reach speeds of 100/120 frames per second, the HFR demonstration will go off with help from the BBC and European Broadcasting Union. It should be fascinating.

Finally, LG also pre-announced new 21:9 curved gaming displays. We’re sensing a theme with these curved monitors…


We hadn’t heard much about HTC pre-IFA until just a few days before the show.

Word coming from noted leaker Evan Blass of VentureBeat is that HTC is plottingto unveil the HTC One A9s, successor to the One A9, at IFA.

HTC One A9s
Image credit: VentureBeat

Like the phone that came before it, the One A9s looks an awful like an iPhone. Hopefully, a copycat design doesn’t detract from the phone’s performance – it’s said to have a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front snapper – but we could know all if the phone is announced on September 1, as rumor has it.

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Huawei came out swinging at IFA 2015 with the Mate S and G8 smartphones, plus pricing details for the Huawei Watch. We expect more of the same at this year’s show.

On August 22, the phone maker tweeted a teaser for its September 1 press conference. The image, shown below, looks to feature the edge of a phone, and it touted “Defy Expectations” as the event’s tagline.

Huawei IFA 2016

Huawei then proceeded to go on a teaser tweeting spree, with each blast hinting strongly that a phone is on the way this week. What’s more, the tweets seem to strongly suggest the handset will house a powerful camera and capable flash.

How are these for teases: “Stay moving, stand still. See the results”, “Even if you’re in the dark, it doesn’t mean you can’t be sharp”, “Always camera ready, never camera shy. Coming 1st September”, and finally, “Colour, clarity and sharpness. Capture it all”?

An analyst floated the rumor that the company is planning a device called theHuawei NOVA, a phone that’s supposedly geared towards women. Many of the tweets feature flashes of light – is that a not-so-subtle hint the NOVA is about to burst onto the scene?

Huawei IFA 2016

Then, Evan Blass was back at it again, tweeting on August 29 that the “Huawei Nova, Nova Plus and MediaPad M3 launching at IFA.” The Nova Plus we figure to be a bigger version of the Nova, while the MediaPad M3 would be the company’s next tablet.

Recent Weibo leaks (via Pocketlink) also point to the Huawei Mate 9, a 5.9-inch phablet. It looks to feature a dual-camera set-up, much like the Huawei P9 andHonor 8, the latter of which was recently launched in the US. Again, the camera figures to be a big focus for this phone.

Other rumors suggest Huawei will use IFA 2016 to unveil a new sub-brand, one that focuses on mid-range smartphones – the first of which could be the device we see in the teasers.

To follow along with the press event, check out Huawei’s minisite, which is counting down the hours till September 1.

Lenovo and Motorola

Lenovo, which owns Motorola, has teased a number of announcements for IFA 2016, including new MotoMods for the Moto Z smartphone, a new tablet, and “a new kind of intuitive keyboard.”

It’s all in a video put out on Lenovo’s YouTube channel, and it’s chock full of quick looks at devices we’ll see in Berlin. You can see for yourself below:

Lenovo might also announce a new Moto 360 smartwatch for 2016, based on the wearable’s cameo in the teaser. We’ll find out all during the company’s August 31 press conference.


You’re ready for a Zenvolution, aren’t you? Well, Asus sure is, and it’s counting down the days to just such an occurrence on its IFA 2016 minisite.

Asus has Zen products in every category – ZenFone, ZenPad tablets, ZenWatch, ZenBook laptops – so “Zenvolution” could refer to one, some, or all of these devices showing up at the company’s August 31 press conference.

Asus ZenWatch 2

On August 17, Asus tweeted “The time for something incredible is now! #IFA16 #ASUS”, indicating a new ZenWatch is indeed headed to the show. Asus announced the ZenWatch 2 at IFA 2015, so a safe bet is that the ZenWatch 3 is in the offing.

This was backed up by an August 22 report from DigiTimes, citing the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, that Asus will in fact unveil the third-gen ZenWatch at IFA. The device will reportedly look different than its predecessors thanks to a new industrial design.

Intel is also featured on Asus’ minisite, a sign the two have teamed up again on a device, just like the ZenFone 2.


Acer’s press conference has happened and it brought with it a number of laptop surprises.

Acer swift 7

Acer has announced what it is calling the ‘world’s thinnest laptop’. The Acer Swift 7 is the first laptop to duck in under the 1cm barrier – it’s just 9.98mm in height, comes encased in an all-aluminum chassis and has a 13.3-inch IPS screen.

Alongside the Acer Swift 7, the Acer Swift 5 was also announced, a 14-inch laptop with optional touchscreen. And there was the Acer Swift 3, the more budget offering that has an Intel Pentium or Celeron processor and 4GB of ram.

If convertibles are your thing, then Acer also announced the Acer Spin 7 (as well as the Spin 5 and 3). This laptop comes with a 360-degree hinge and can be used as a tablet.

Predator 21 X

If that wasn’t enough, Acer has also created a 21-inch gaming laptop with a curved screen. If that wasn’t enough, the gaming laptop also comes with a mechanical keyboard. The Acer Predator 21 X is one of the strangest, most wonderful laptops we have seen. It’s equipped with 5 fans, Core i7, and dual Nvidia GTX graphics cards to make sure you get the best out of your gaming. It also has eye tracking, so it can watch you cry tears of joy while you are using it.

ZTE and nubia

ZTE is set to host a press conference on September 1, and it’s *hear* the company will unveil a brand-new device.

That’s straight from ZTE’s mouth: the company tweeted a teaser for its September 1 press conference with the tagline “Right Hear Right Now.” Sound waves rippling across the image further indicate ZTE is readying a product for our ears.

ZTE IFA 2016 press conference

While a speaker or other audio-only device could be in the cards, the safe money is on a new Axon phone with souped-up sound capabilities. LG is placing a premium on sound for the V20, so it could be that sonics are the new camera in terms of manufacture focus when it comes to the next batch of smartphones.

Before ZTE takes the stage though, nubia, a sub-brand of the Chinese phone maker, has a reveal of its own.

nubia is hosting an August 31 gathering, and a minisite for the event teases we’re in for something that let’s us “dream without boundaries.” It’s a good tease, but the company’s press invites also say “flagship smartphone”, so we know what we’re in for.

ZTE nubia

The tagline could hint at a bezel-less phone, though it might also refer to the device’s camera. An image of what appears to be a camera sensor on the minisite indicates the handset’s snapper will be one of its main attractions.

The phone maker claims the nubia Z11, recently released in China, is bezel-less, so we could be in for the device’s international launch at IFA.


Panasonic typically hefts new TVs to IFA, and this year will be no different, though that’s not all we’ll see.

“Under the corporate brand slogan ‘A Better Life, A Better World,’ Panasonic will propose in its Lifestyles Showcase ideas that help people to ‘Aspire to more: To the lifestyles we all desire’ brought to life by a wide range of Panasonic products, from audio-visual equipment, home appliances to beauty appliances,” the company wrote on its site in late August.

Neither this line nor the teaser video tell us much, save for the general categories Panasonic intends to cover. We’ll likely hear more about HDR and Ultra HD Blu-rays from Pana, though we’re most intrigued whether it touches on its 8K aspirations for 2020.

You can follow along with all the Panasonic action beginning at 3pm CEST on August 31.


Toshiba is, like many of its cohorts, coming to IFA, but it’s not just new TVs and printers we’ll see from the company in Berlin.


The firm revealed prior to show that it’s announcing “a partnership that changes the consumer electronics landscape in Europe” during its September 1 press conference.

Who this mystery partner is, we don’t yet know, but it sounds like we could be in for some fairly significant news from Toshiba. With the company no longer making consumer laptops, we’re left to think the partnership could deal with the B2B or home entertainment space.


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