New smartphones, wearables, washing machines, and, er, pet feeders. What went down at IFA 2017?
Traditionally, summer is a quiet time for the tech industry (Samsung Galaxy Note 8 aside), but just like CES brings everyone back down to Earth after the Christmas period, IFA marks the end of the sunshine.
The Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) Berlin is Europe’s biggest tech trade show, with 1,805 exhibitors across 159,000 square metres in the German capital. It takes place over six days in late August and early September and encompasses just about every area of technology.
And we mean, every area. From conventional gadgets and weird and whacky gizmos to home appliances and PCs to a greater emphasis in recent years on B2B and research and development, IFA has something for everyone.
Here we talk about some of the most important, and most spurious, announcements made by some of the world’s biggest technology companies over the past few days.
Samsung wearables and washables
Fresh from the successful launch of the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung used the trade show to unveil three new devices in its wearable portfolio. Gear Sport, which is smaller than the Gear S3, is a water resistant and GPS-enabled smartwatch for fitness fanatics.
As well as this, Samsung announced the Gear Fit2 Pro, which it describes as an upgraded GPS sports band with smart features. You can use it while swimming and in other fitness environments. And lastly, Gear iconX is the firm’s second generation cord-free earbuds, which come with Bixby voice control.
It also showed off some washing machine, fridge and vacuuming tech too.
For LG, its main focus has been on mobile technology. The V30, which it launched at the event during the week, proves to be one of the most exciting smartphone announcements of 2017. Expected to be released at some point in September, the handset sports a 6-inch 1440×2880 display, a blistering octa-core processor, 64 or 128GB of memory, a fingerprint sensor and a 16-megapixel main camera. It comes running Android Nougat.
Sony’s 3D scanning smartphones
Sony has struggled in the smartphone arena in recent years, but it hopes the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 compact can change all that. They come with powerful specs, tech from other products in the Sony family and Android 8.0 Oreo, but also have the ability to turn images into 3D objects.
There was a cheaper Xperia XA1 plus on show and a Google Assistant-powered home speaker.
Virtual reality is taking the world by storm, and the likes of Samsung, Oculus, Sony, HTC and Google have already launched their own headsets. Lenovo has become the latest firm to join the VR ring, with the announcement of Explorer. It’s a Windows 10 mixed reality headset that’s been designed for comfort and to support a range of virtual reality experiences, as opposed to just gaming. The base headset will cost $349 (under £300), giving you two 1440×1440 LCD displays.
Acer makes laptop push
Acer has been another worthy player at IFA 2017, making a number of interesting announcements on Wednesday. It took the time to announce the Chromebook 15, which sports an aluminium design and a 15.6-inch display. Looking to expand its 2-in-1 Windows line-up, the firm has unveiled new Swift, Spin and Switch models.
Panasonic smart laundry
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is exhibiting all manner of products at IFA, from home appliances to beauty equipment. One of the company’s most fascinating announcements is its intelligent laundry system. It not only washes and dries (automatically at the optimum washing cycle) but also folds and puts clean clothes into a special storage area.