While IFA 2014 itself formally starts in a few days, many companies have scheduled their press events ahead to leave IFA open to actual device demos and showcases. But what do we expect from manufacturer's this time of year? As it turns out, quite a lot. Unsurprisingly, a lot of those also revolve around the tech industry's latest babies: smartwatches. Of course, it isn't just all about smartwatches, as we're expecting to see a few smartwatches and some tablets these coming days as well.
ASUS has been harping about its smartwatch since January, but so far, like Motorola, it has been a no show in that market. But with official teasers already out in the wild, IFA 2014 could finally be ASUS' time to shine. That said, we still know very little about the ZenWatch, other than it will be running Android Wear and will have voice command support, which isn't exactly ground breaking. One thing that the company has been try to emphasize was how affordable their smartwatch will be. We curiously await if its budget price will come with budget specs.
Former Google subsidiary Motorola will be making quite a big splash this IFA. Defying expectations of an August announcement, the company will be revealing not just the next Moto X smartphone, but also the next Moto G as well. As of the last listing, the Moto X+1 is expected to bear a 1080p 5.2-inch screen, run on a 2.2 or 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, have 2 GB of RAM, and a 13 megapixel rear camera. Not exactly the latest and highest specs, but Motorola has been known to pull a few rabbits out of its hat with run of the mill hardware. The Moto G2, on the other hand, is believed to be a larger cousin of the budget smartphone, sporting a 720p 5-inch screen, powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 and 1 GB of RAM, with an 8 megapixel camera on the back.
What everyone might be waiting for will be the Moto 360 smartwatch, something that was hyped a lot since I/O 2014. The smartwatch seemed to promise a lot, like a stylish round face design and wireless charging. Unfortunately, the company seems to have taken its sweet time and part of its thunder has been mostly stolen by LG's latest revelation.
The Korean OEM has surprisingly laid out all its cards on the table way before IFA 2014 even starts. It has already announced all its key devices, ranging from monitors, curved TVs, smartphones, and yes, smartwatches, ahead of time, making is us wonder if LG has anything left to surprise us with this week. Not that the G Watch R isn't already surprising. A last minute leak gave us a glimpse of a round smartwatch from LG and, sure enough, the company did officially reveal the the device last week. The LG G Watch R is a bit of a step up from the plain G Watch, employing a round screen that, unlike the Moto 360, utilizes the whole surface. It also gets a higher 410 mAh battery and a heartrate sensor inside.
If LG doesn't have any announcements left, it will most likely just use its IFA time to formally introduce the devices to the public and later on let them fondle the new devices. Included in this new batch is the LG G3 Stylus, a pen-toting smartphone that was "accidentally" leaked in an LG ad but was later revealed to be a mid-tier device that just happened to have its own rubbery capacitive stylus in tow. Not quite what some might have wished to rival Samsung's upcoming star.
With the premium Galaxy Alpha formally out of the way, Samsung is free to turn all the spotlight on the Galaxy Note 4. As seems to be Samsung's practice, this device will come with specs higher and bigger than that of its Galaxy S5 flagship. That includes a 5.7-inch QHD screen, a whopping 4 GB of RAM, the fastest Exynos and Snapdragon CPUs, a 16 megapixel camera, and what could be a new fingerprint scanner. But that's just the specs, of course. It remains to be seen whether Samsung also has anything left to push forward the S Pen again this year, or if the vision for the stylus has somewhat plateaued by now.
And like the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 4 will also come with its own companion smartwatch. Also announced already last week, the Gear S is Samsung's surprising yet expected new wearable. While not as visually distinct as the G Watch R, the Gear S boasts one thing that none of this new generation of smartwatches have: it's very own 3G connection. Unfortunately, but again not surprising, it runs Tizen instead of Android Wear, and we'll get to see this week if it will be able to stand up to the onslaught of new Android Wear smartwatches.
Sony's third smartwatch is a rather late surprise. Not that we didn't see the SmartWatch 3 coming but, according to last minute rumors, it will be running on Android Wear instead of Sony's custom software. That is definitely a bit of an unexpected turn of events considering how much Sony has invested in its own smartwatch ecosystem long before Android Wear or even Samsung's Galaxy Gear arrived on the scene. Still, it's definitely a welcome change, if true, as it gives Android users more devices to choose from.
That said, many Sony fans will most likely be waiting with bated breath for what the company's new smartphones and an unexpected tablet. From what we've gathered so far, the Xperia Z3 is likely to be look like another incremental upgrade from the Xperia Z2, bearing almost the same specs with a few upgrades here and there. The Xperia Z3 Compact, on the other hand, only has the Xperia Z1 Compact as the jumping board, since Sony has seemingly abandoned any plans for an Xperia Z2 Compact. Although we did expect a new Xperia tablet to join the crowd, little did we know that it will also be, well, little. The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact will be the company's first foray into a small-sized tablet, so fans of Sony's design and hardware will definitely want to keep an eye out for this.
These are just some of the major highlights of IFA 2014 this week, but there's definitely more in store. Huawei's Ascend Mate7 will be making an appearance as well as Lenovo's Vibe X2. Meizu is also expected to reveal its latest MX4 this week. We will definitely have an Android packed week so be sure to keep tabs on our IFA 2014 tag portal so that you don't get lost in the sea of announcements and devices.