IFA 2011: all the latest announcements
8th Sep 2011 | 14:46
Tablets, 3D TV, laptops, phones and more
IFA 2011: all the latest news
IFA, the world's largest consumer electronics and home appliance show, opened its doors for the 51st time on 1 September 2011.
For five hectic days, this annual extravaganza of all things electronic will redefine the consumer electronics landscape for the next 12 months.
IFA 2011 is not just another gadget show. It's a technology event on an enormous scale. Last year, the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin attracted over 230,000 visitors. And yes, it is open to the public.
TechRadar is out at IFA in force - check out our IFA day one highlights video below.
Here's what's been announced at IFA 2011 so far:
Sony has officially named its two Android tablets - what was once known as the S1 will now be called the Sony Tablet S, while the Sony S2 is now the Sony Tablet P. We will be seeing both slates hit in Wi-Fi form from the end of September 2011 and while UK prices weren't confirmed, Sony said that the Tablet S will go on sale from $479 and the Tablet P from $599.
Dixons then followed up by opening Tablet S pre-orders and in the process announcing its Sony Tablet S UK price. The official Sony Tablet S UK price starts at £399.99 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. You can pre-order the 16GB Wi-Fi and 3G version for £499.99, or go for a bit more storage with the Wi-Fi only 32GB model for £499.99.
- Hands on: Sony Tablet S review
- Hands on: Sony Tablet P review
- Video: Sony Tablet S hands on
- Video: Sony Tablet P hands on
Sony also unveiled a 6-inch eReader - the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 - which weighs just 168 grams and is 8.9mm thick. The PRS-T1 features a one month battery life, is available in black, white and red and will allow borrowing from local libraries.
In the PC arena, Sony showed off its VAIO L 3D - or Vaio VPCL21S1E/B to give its full name - an all-in-one desktop with a 24-inch Full HD Vaio LED backlight display, and to its notebook collection, it's added a 15.5" model to its VAIO S Series. The 15.5-inch screen is Full HD affair, with an optional 'glasses-free 3D' panel so you can watch 3D Blu-rays simply by popping it over the screen.
For a more portable and ridiculous-looking 3D experience, Sony has made the Sony HMZ-T1 official. First shown at CES, this wearable personal 3D viewer streams content from your Blu-ray player or PS3, among other devices, STRAIGHT INTO YOUR EYES.
Also unveiled at IFA by Sony was the SMP-N200 Network Media Player, allowing people to turn any television into a connected TV.
Sony refreshed its arc line-up at IFA 2011, with the company announcing the Sony Xperia Arc S.
Also from Sony:
- Sony adds new top-flight 3D projector
- Sony at IFA 2011: let the tablet wars begin
- Sony unveils affordable BDP-S185 Blu-ray player
Our video of the key Sony products from our team at IFA in Berlin is below:
Samsung treated us to three new cameras at this year's IFA. The 18x superzoom WB750 compact brings a BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor and, for the first time in a compact, Samsung's own DSP 3 key component. Next up was the MV800 'Multiview' camera, billed as the world's first compact to feature a flip-up screen to make it easier to shoot from unusual angles.
Completing the trio is the NX200 compact system camera, featuring a 20.3 megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor, 100 millisecond advanced autofocus and HD video recording.
Also from Samsung comes the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, which was outed ahead of the press launch. The tablet features a 7.7" super AMOLED screen, 5100mAh battery, and is running Android 3.2 with Samsung's TouchWiz overlay on top. The tablet will come in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, and features a 2MP camera on the front and a 3MP snapper on the back. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 was officially unveiled shortly after.
Samsung also unveiled its 1.4GHz dual-core processor-packing, 5.3-inch screened Samsung Galaxy Note. That processor makes the Galaxy Note the world's most powerful smartphone - and the display specs completely blow the iPhone 4 away.
More on the Galaxy Note:
- Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Note review
- Samsung Galaxy Note: what you need to know
- Samsung Galaxy Note vs iPhone 4: which is best?
- Hands on video: Samsung Galaxy Note
Samsung revealed its aluminium styled Series 7 Chronos laptop range ahead of the show opening. The Chronos 700Z5A is powered by the Intel Core i7 quad core processor and comes with a 15.6-inch screen, while the slightly lower-spec Chronos 700Z4A has a 15-inch screen and an Intel Huron River Core i5 2467M processor.
Samsung has also announced the PC Series-7 tablet, which can be docked to use as a Windows 7-running desktop PC, complete with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Windows 7 tablets haven't exactly set the world on fire, but we'd love to see this running Windows 8.
Also from Samsung:
- Samsung Smart TVs to get YouTube 3D content
- Samsung Galaxy Wi-Fi 3.6 is a smartphone without the phone
- Samsung CEO: We don't want webOS
- Video: Samsung at IFA 2011
- Hands on: Samsung Wave 3 review
Philips has been busy developing a host of new Full HD 3D TVs with integrated internet, LED display panels and the ability to convert 2D to 3D. So the 9000, 8000 and 7000 TV ranges have all seen an update.
IFA also saw Philips announce a new range of Cinema 21:9 TVs (dubbed Platinum and Gold) to bring smarter and smoother 3D plus the next generation of internet TV.
Also from Philips:
LG announced its new LW980T flagship TV range, combining 'the latest in 3D technology and SmartTV'. The new range, which will be available in 47- and 55-inch screen sizes, uses LG's Nano Full LED backlighting for a brighter, clearer picture. At the same time LG also announced its new HX906TX 3D surround sound system, featuring Dolby-certified 360 audio.
Plasma TVs are on LG's IFA launch list, too, with the PenTouch range of plasma TVs which allow people to draw and sketch straight onto the screen. We thought this was so you could draw moustaches on BBC news readers, but it turns out that using a connection to a PC you can draw and sketch and organise photos using the dedicated pen.
LG has also teamed up with Philips and Sharp on Smart TV apps. The three firms aim to create a standard for connected TV apps by collaborating on a common approach - and they've invited others to join.
HTC graced us with a couple of new Windows Phones: The HTC Titan, and our favourite name for a phone ever, the HTC Radar. HTC Titan brings 4.7-inches of Mango while the HTC Radar was given its official debut, with a release date set for October.
Toshiba has revealed that its AT200 tablet (aka the Toshiba Excite) will be just 7.7mm thick when it lands with Honeycomb 3.2. Spec-wise, it carries a 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM to boot. Its high resolution display is a 10.1-incher, with resolution coming in at 1280x800 - the same as the Samsung Galaxy Note we saw earlier.
Toshiba has also bolstered its 3D TV line-up with the launch of the TL Series, which it says brings "exceptional value" Full HD 3D sets. We don't know how exceptional said value is as Tosh hasn't announced a price or release date yet. You'll need to factor in the cost of the active shutter glasses, though, as these are sold separately.
Or how about the UK's first glasses-free 3D TV? If you can step away from the 'exceptional value' end of the TV store, then you might be interested in the Toshiba 55ZL2. The high-end 55-inch ZL2 offers up face tracking, Resolution+, Auto-calibration, 2D to 3D conversion and smart TV features. The 3D is provided by lenticular lenslets, which can apparently offer up nine different viewing positions.
Also from Toshiba:
- Toshiba announces affordable Blu-ray players BDX2250 and BDX1250
- Video: Toshiba at IFA 2011
- Hands on: Toshiba AT200 review
- Hands on: Toshiba Portege Z830 review
Lenovo has delivered one of the first Intel Ultrabook implementations. The Lenovo IdeaPad U300s runs various implementations of Intel's ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) variants of its Core i series processors and features SSD drives. A UK release date is, as yet, unknown but we don't think it'll be too long before you see it on UK streets.
Netgear announced three new products designed to help you stream your entertainment around the home. The networking company revealed a smaller powerline networking set, the Powerline Nano Dual-port Set; the Universal Dual Band Wireless Internet Adapter for TV and Blu-Ray; and the Universal Push2TV Wireless PC to TV Adapter, which broadcasts content from a Windows PC screen to HDMI-compatible TV.
Creative unveiled its new Sound Blaster gaming headsets, including the Tactic360 Sigma, Tactic360 ION, Tactic3D Wrath and Tactic3D Omega.
Our original IFA predictions piece
Below is our original IFA predictions piece. Read on to see if we were correct...
The IFA site is so huge it has its own transport system to help get folks around. With more attendees and exhibition space than CES, it can legitimately claim to be the world's biggest tech expo.
Amazingly, the show first opened its doors way back in 1924. Since then it's seen numerous tech milestones.
In 1930 Albert Einstein gave a keynote speech about the future of radio; five years later the event introduced the first magnetic recording tape. In 1967 PAL colour televisions made their debut, and then in 1981 CD players were unveiled before a curious public. It was at IFA, in 1995, that European broadcasters began to demonstrate digital TV for the first time.
Naturally, the big brands are keeping product announcements and developments close to their chests, as they prepare for the big IFA reveal on 1 September. Until then rumour and speculation is the name of the game. That said, it's not too difficult to predict the direction that tech winds will be blowing.
The big buzzwords bouncing around the halls of IFA 2011 will be (in no particular order) 4K2K, Smart TV, autostereocopic 3D and, of course, tablets. Feel free to combine any and all of these to produce your imaginary device of choice.
Those who have been hoping that the 3D bandwagon would at least develop a slow puncture (yes, amazingly there are a few naysayers still out there) are likely to be disappointed. The big 3D TV makers will all be hawking better-than-ever third generation displays.
One highlight you can expect to see in the Panasonic hall is the brand's astonishing new 152inch 3D plasma. We've already had a preview of this monster and can confirm it is quite simply the most jaw-dropping flat-panel on the planet.
Panasonic has long enjoyed producing impractically large plasmas (just because it can), and this is its most ambitious screen yet. The 4K Active Shutter panel has a resolution of 8 million pixels; at a recent demo we watched in slack-jawed amazement as it upscaled Avatar from a standard Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player.
2011 has already been deemed the year of the smart TV by the likes of Samsung and LG, and this message is only likely to be reinforced at IFA 2011. While Ethernet is now de rigueur on all types of CE gear, Wi-Fi has been an awkward add-on. However, come IFA, the dongle will go the way of the Dodo, as building-in becomes the new going out.
The evolution of the tablet
Naturally, tablets will be everywhere at IFA 2011, with dozens of cookie-cutter slates on hand. What will be new, however, is how they'll be positioned. Many of these handhelds will be promoted as your next second TV screen.
TABLET FRENZY:A new wave of tablet devices will launch, aimed at enhancing the TV viewing experience
Samsung used IFA 2010 to launch its original Samsung Galaxy Tab and it looks like the company will be using this year's show to launch a follow-up device - the Samsung Galaxy Q. The rumour is that it's a "tabphone" that's half tablet, half phone. Read more about the Samsung Galaxy Q here.
Samsung has also shown off a couple of tablet teaser videos, too.
We'll also see a new Intel Ultrabook from Acer (basically a MacBook Air-style machine), as well as potentially Samsung - the Korean giant usually brings out a bunch of laptops at IFA and this year looks to be no exception - as usual there's a whole press conference specifically for their computing kit.
We're also expecting tablets and computing devices from numerous other vendors including Lenovo and Toshiba.
We know that Panasonic's first tablets will allow you to access its Viera Connect IPTV and apps store directly, as well as act as a turbo-charged remote control for a tethered screen.
What about phones?
IFA isn't traditionally a phone show, but Samsung has launched phones before at the show, while it looks like the show conveniently falls into place for Windows Phone Mango.
Samsung has already pre-empted the show with the Samsung Galaxy M Pro, Samsung Galaxy Y and Samsung Galaxy Y Pro.
Back to the future
IFA has a habit of repeating itself. So expect those uber-cool products unveiled at IFA 2010, but still conspicuous by their absence in the real world, to return refreshed. We'll bet dollars to doughnuts that you'll witness the second coming of LG's fabled Nano-LED TVs, only this time with Cinema 3D passive tech replacing the Active Shutter 3D system they were originally shown with.
BACK AGAIN:First shown last year, but still not on sale, LG's Nano LED screens will get a Passive 3D makeover at IFA
Of course, LG will still be shilling gear unlikely to ship anytime soon. We predict the highlight of the LG hall will be its first large screen 4K2K 3D display. This will use the brand's proprietary FPR (Film Pattern Retarder) filter and, thanks to the higher resolution of the 4K panel, will be able to produce the first ever Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) Passive 3D picture.
LG has also indicated that it a major part of its IFA 2011 thinking is around how it can push its plasma televisions in 'new and exciting directions'.
"Through our on-going commitment to plasma, we've come up with technology that's raised plasma picture quality to new heights, and helped rejuvenate the overall plasma TV market," said Heui-seob Kim, vice president and head of the PDP TV business at LG Electronics.
"At IFA 2011, we'll be taking the chance to show European consumers the true potential of plasma, and how we're setting the pace with innovations that deliver real improvements in how viewers can watch and interact with their TVs."
Bizarrely LG has also revealed a mouse and scanner combination device which will debut at the show.
LG's rival Samsung does not traditionally use IFA to launch swathes of new AV kit, reserving that privilege for January's CES event (and using the show to launch a lot of computing kit instead). However, the company does like to steal a headline or two. One way it could do this is by taking the wraps off its own radical new 3D TV technology.
The brand is known to have done a deal with 3D pioneer Real D to create a new generation of displays which deliver Full HD 3D using passive polarising glasses. No specifics have been announced, but by shifting shuttering LCD tech to the panel and away from high-tech eyeware, the brand will free itself from the expensive handcuffs that are Active Shutter spectacles.
Sony, Samsung and Panasonic have also shown that they are not backing down on making active shutter by announcing a new standard initiative with Xpand. Expect more details on this at the show, even though 2012 is more likely for launch.
Over in Toshiba's hall, there's certain to be a massive push on autostereoscopic (no glasses needed) 3D. We predict Toshiba will show a groundbreaking 55inch Auto-3D screen. The company has already touted prototypes and seems firmly committed to making autostereocopic TV happen. Of course, you won't be able to buy one until at least 2012.
Meanwhile, Hanspreee has announced it will be bringing a new generation of its apple-styled TV to the show.
More Smart TVs
IFA 2011 won't just be about hardware, though. Reflecting the rise of Smart devices, there will be a new emphasis on apps and content.
Samsung UK's AV marketing chief Russell Owens says that IFA 2011 will be about more than just kit. "You can be certain apps and services will be a big story at this year's event," he told us.
Sony spokesperson Lucie Speciale agrees, saying that for Sony IFA 2011 will be about "discovering new services and most importantly experiencing digital content in ways that haven't been seen before." She adds "key themes will be connectivity, mobility, entertainment and the next stages of 3D."
We can't wait.
Liked this? Then check out Best TV 2011: how to choose the best TV to buy
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