IFA 2018: All the announcements that matter from the Berlin tech show
IFA, or Internationale Funkausstellung, is Europe’s biggest tech show. Held in Berlin over the first few days of September, it’s one of the most significant spots on the calendar for product launches.
The show started in 1924 as a radio convention and now, hosted in the huge Messe Berlin complex, it’s one of the world’s largest tech shows. Unlike many such shows, IFA is open to the public, meaning anyone can go an marvel at the latest and greatest technology.
When is IFA 2018?
IFA 2018 is held in Berlin from 31 August-5 September. These are the dates that the show is open to the public at Messe Berlin.
However, the press day – when information about new products is released – fall on the days before, with 30 August the most active in terms of new announcements.
What has launched at IFA 2018?
IFA 2018 is now well under way, with the companies gathering to launch their latest innovations. Here are all the announcements that matter.
Acer at IFA 2018
Acer updated a number of devices at IFA 2018, using it as a prime opportunity to launch a premium Chromebook – the Chromebook 514. This aluminium chassis device has a 14-inch display, joining the new Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 in dragging the Google laptops into the premium sphere.
Asus at IFA 2018
Asus opened up IFA with a huge update to its ZenBook models, with some really interesting notebooks.
There’s an update to the ZenBook 13 – which was last updated in January – but now really pushes the bezels aside. It’s a seriously good-looking notebook. Then there’s the ZenBook 14 Pro, which gives you a second screen in the place of the trackpad, meaning more control for creative types.
Bang & Olufsen at IFA 2018
B&O announced that the Beosound 1 and 2 now support Google Assistant as the company looks to make some of its existing, elegant, speakers are little better connected.
But the main interest is in the new Beosound Edge. This quirky speaker was inspired by the (now old) British £1 coin, a disc that stands on its side. It’s a premium speaker, naturally, offers five drivers and can be tilted to change the volume. There’s also an innovative active bass port which opens and closes to change the bass delivery based on the volume of the music you’re listening to.
Dell at IFA 2018
Dell has used IFA to make some updates. The XPS 13 has new innards, making this popular laptop more powerful, but there’s also the introduction of a pretty serious Chromebook.
It’s calling the Inspiron Chromebook 14 a “premium” Chromebook, with an aluminium case, stylus and flexible 2-in-1 hybrid design, offering something a little more exciting than the cheaper Chromebooks that dominate the sector.
Fitbit at IFA 2018
Fitbit traditionally announces a new device for IFA, typically revealing details just before the show kicks off and having it on display. Fitbit has avoided the noise of IFA and announced the Fitbit Charge 3 in advance of the show, updating one of its most popular fitness trackers. We’ve given it a full work-up so you can see exactly what it offers.
Fossil at IFA 2018
Fossil’s fourth-gen smartwatches are looking better than ever – a smartwatch for everyone!
Harman Kardon at IFA 2018
Harman Kardon has announced a number of updates at IFA 2018, but the most interesting of the is the new Citation series, a range of smart speakers for all situations. They range from the Citation One, which is a quality alternative to the Amazon Echo, all the way through to a full soundbar in 5.1 arrangement.
The whole Citation range features Google Assistant, great design and impressive sound quality.
HTC at IFA 2018
HTC has used IFA 2018 to update its mid-range model, the HTC U12 Life.
It takes some of the glossy design of HTC’s flagship phone for a quality look at feel, in a phone that’s not too expensive – something that HTC has struggled with in the past. It gets a dual camera, a decent battery and quality mid-range power to make for an attractive phone.
Honor at IFA 2018
Honor has launched the Honor Play at the show, a 6.3-inch phone targeting the gaming market. The phone has been launched in China and is now confirmed for the UK. We’ve also reviewed it and it’s looking like a seriously good value phone.
Huawei at IFA 2018
Huawei has revealed a few things at IFA 2018. Perhaps most interesting in terms of product is its AI Cube smart speaker. Powered by Alexa, it features a 4G modem and router so it doesn’t need a fixed line home network to work or bring connectivity into your home.
Secondly, there’s the Mate 20 Lite, a new mid-range handset. Finally, there’s Kirin 980, which is the new platform that Huawei’s next-gen phones will be based on. It’s coming to the Mate 20 in October and will be inside the P20 replacement early next year.
Lenovo at IFA 2018
Lenovo announced a number of Yoga launches at IFA 2018, including an update to the crazy Yoga Book, its keyless notebook. But there’s also a serious update to the Yoga C930, with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision poured into this flexible notebook.
There there’s the Yoga Chromebook line, adding some of that Yoga love to the Googley laptops.
Libratone at IFA 2018
Libratone has released a welcome update to the Zipp speaker, resulting in the Zipp 2. The big change is the inclusion of Alexa voice control, so this is now a smart speaker, but the battery life has also been extended, the sound quality improved and it’s smarter overall.
The Zipp is one of our favourite Bluetooth speakers, the Zipp 2 looks like it could be a great smart speaker.
LG at IFA 2018
LG is a funny beast when it comes to tradeshows, announcing everything in advance. For IFA, we’ve seen the LG G7 Fit and LG G7 One announced – both jumping on the G7 bandwagon, but offering a lower-tier device. Confused? There’s no need to be, as we explain it all.
LG has also announced updated Tone headphones with a Google Assistant button, GA for its ThinQ TVs as well as voice control for the LG Styler. LG, it seems, is making everything connected. LG has also used IFA to show off its 88-inch 8K OLED, again.
Panasonic at IFA 2018
Panasonic has a large presence at IFA, but aren’t any big new product launches this year. One thing the company has confirmed is that the rollout of HDR10+ is now underway, with a range of Panasonic products getting certified.
Philips at IFA 2018
Philips has launched an interesting OLED TV, turning to Bowers & Wilkins to boost the sound. The OLED+ 903 will come in 55 and 65-inch sizes, offers three-sided Ambilight illumination. Aside from boosted sound, there’s also voice control thanks to Alexa.
Samsung at IFA 2018
Samsung has used IFA 2018 to launch its first customer-ready 8K QLED TV set. The Samsung Q900R will only come in big sizes – from 65 to 85-inches – looking to deliver all the connected goodness of a Samsung TV, with a suite of AI upscaling tech thrown in, to make your existing content look better in 8K.
Samsung says it’s about immersion and realism, but in the absence of any native 8K content, it’s going to be heavily dependent on its new AI-powered 8K upscaling system.
Sony at IFA 2018
Sony has gone big at IFA 2018, using the opportunity to announce the Sony Xperia XZ3, a new flagship smartphone with a curved display – making for a fresh new look – and potentially Sony’s most exciting phone of the past few years.
Finally, there’s an update to Sony’s excellent noise-cancelling headphones, the Sony WH-1000X MK3. With a new active noise-cancellation chip, these claim to be four times better at signal processing then the previous version, which were rather good. It seems Sony is serious about keeping the noise-cancellation crown in headphones.
Toshiba at IFA 2018
Toshiba has used IFA 2018 to outline and demonstrate its television line-up, including an 8K Concept TV. That doesn’t have a scheduled launch date, but the company has confirmed that it’s bringing Alexa voice control to its TVs, as well as offering clever innovations like Dash replacements, so it will automatically order new batteries for the remote when it’s running low.