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Image: James Cridland

Next week we’ll see a wealth of new Android devices announced in Germany in the run up to IFA 2012. For the uninitiated, IFA is an annual consumer electronics show held in Berlin, which often serves as a launching platform for smartphone and tablet manufacturers -- think of it as a mini-Mobile World Congress. Last year’s IFA hosted the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 7.7, as well as the Xperia Arc S from Sony and two new Windows phones from HTC. This year’s event officially runs from Aug. 31 to Sep. 5, but many of larger announcements will be made in the couple of days before IFA officially kicks off.

IFA 2012’s most significant Android announcements are expected to come from Samsung, which is preparing to take the wraps off its Galaxy Note 2. But we’re also anticipating new smartphones and tablets from Sony and others.

Android Central will be on the ground in Berlin from early next week, but in the meantime, we’ve cooked up a definitive guide to exactly what we’re expecting to see at this year’s IFA. Read on to learn more.


The leading Android manufacturer will unveil its second-generation Galaxy Note to the world at an event on the evening (Berlin time) of Wednesday, Aug. 29. That’s as much as the company has confirmed, and a dearth of reliable leaked info has left us scratching our heads about the true nature of the Galaxy Note 2.

The handful of reliable leaked reports suggest a 5.5-inch, 16:9 orientation screen, a Exynos 4 Quad CPU -- same as the Galaxy S3, but likely clocked higher at around 1.6GHz, and either Android 4.0 or 4.1. Samsung’s pressure-sensitive S Pen will of course make a return, though any software or hardware enhancements that may have been made remain a mystery.

Could Samsung also release the Galaxy Note 2 at IFA, as it did with the Note 10.1 in New York City? It’s been rumored, but we wouldn’t hold our breath. Check Android Central around noon EDT on Aug. 29 for full coverage of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 launch.

Samsung’s also holding its official IFA press conference the next on the following day, Aug. 30. This is where we’re expecting to see all of the company’s non-Galaxy Note announcements. Possibilities include a third-generation Galaxy Tab (remember that rumored “retina” Tab that was reportedly in development), as well as some new Android smartphones for the mid-to-low-end. That’s an educated guess on our part, though -- Samsung’s gotten much better at keeping secrets over the past year, which should result in a few surprises at this year’s IFA.

We're also due to get the Jelly Bean update for the international Galaxy S3​, as we exclusively revealed on Tuesday. This should occur shortly after the Aug. 29 Unpacked event for unlocked models sold in various countries including the UK. Naturally, it’ll be another month or so at the earliest until it’s certified by the U.S. carriers and pushed out stateside. Check our preview (and hands-on video) of Jelly Bean on the Galaxy S3 for more details of what to expect.

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We’re expecting at least three new smartphones and a tablet from Sony this year, and unlike Samsung, we know almost everything there is to know about these new devices. All of these devices should be shown off for the first time at the company’s Aug. 29 press conference.

The big new device will be the Sony Xperia TX, the artist formerly known as Hayabusa and LT29i. Sporting a slim, sleek, Xperia Arc-like design, a Snapdragon S4 CPU, 720p HD Reality Display, 13MP camera and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the Xperia TX looks to be a solid Sony contender for the second half of 2012. The reported presence of a pentaband HSPA+ radio might suggest that the TX could be launched SIM-free in the U.S. The other possibility, however unlikely, is a T-Mobile USA launch.

Next up will be the Sony Xperia Tablet, or Xperia Tablet S, whichever ends up being the final name for Sony’s Tegra 3-powered Tablet S successor. In addition to the aforementioned quad-core CPU, the Xperia Tablet is expected to run either Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean in a slimmed-down aluminum chassis. The outer casing has reportedly been redesigned, resulting in a smaller “wedge,” and a lighter overall weight and a more premium look and feel. Leaked product slides also show a smart keyboard cover as a possible accessory, and a fully-loaded suite of content from PlayStation and the Sony Entertainment Network.

Other Sony announcements are likely to focus on the Xperia SL (which has actually already appeared on the manufacturer’s website) and the Xperia T. The former is a souped-up Xperia S, with its CPU boosted up to 1.7GHz, while the latter is a smaller, chunkier version of the Xperia TX with a few features pared back. The Xperia T’s camera, for example, comes in at 8MP rather than 13. Representing the entry-level will be the Xperia J.

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Motorola will be at IFA, but we’re unsue whether we’ll get any big new products from them. Moto and Verizon have a joint press conference scheduled for Sep. 5 in New York City (that’ll be the Droid RAZR HD, by the way), and with IFA coming just days before that, we’re not sure if the U.S.-centric manufacturer will want to unveil the international RAZR HD ahead of the VZW version. Maybe, maybe not -- we’ll wait and see.

LG will also be in attendance, but won’t be showcasing any new smartphones. It’s possible that the international Optimus Vu might sneak its way into the LG booth, though. Technically, that’s not a new phone, but it’ll likely differ significantly from the Korean version we reviewed earlier this month. The change in CPU (from Snapdragon S3 to Tegra 3) should make the international model a much quicker performer, though at the cost of LTE compatibility.

HTC will be on the show floor, but with no big press conference planned, we shouldn’t expect any major announcements. The lone possibility, we think, might be the Endeavor C2 (aka HTC One X+). This is rumored to be a minor refresh of the One X, with a slightly speedier Tegra 3 CPU, more color options and bundled Beats earphones. Rumors suggest an early October release, so it’s possible this device might quietly slip out at IFA.

Huawei ​has been ominously quiet at the high end, and the Chinese manufacturer still hasn’t delivered the powerful (though phonetically hilarious) Ascend D Quad, the quad-core beast announced at Mobile World Congress in February. Same goes for the MediaPad 10FHD, the 1080p ICS tablet that was shown alongside it. Maybe we’ll see both, in more complete forms, next week.

Panasonic should be around. Maybe they’ll let us play with the Eluga Power again.

Those are our best guesses, but there’s only one way to find out what’s really coming at this year’s IFA show -- check out Android Central’s exhaustive IFA coverage, starting Wednesday, Aug. 29!


Reader comments

IFA 2012 preview - Galaxy Note 2, Xperia TX and more!


Having T-Mobile USA pick up the Sony Xperia TX and combine it with their new unlimited data plans would be a nice start for both companies.

Why would anyone want to by the iphoney 5? Seriously, they (Crapple) are stuck on teeny tiny screens. They lock down your user experience and unless you jail break you have few options for customization. I used the previous versions 3s, etc.. All crap..

Now Samsung is trotting out the wave of the future in the Galaxy Note 2. 5.5" of screen with a S pen. The Note and anything Samsung does is leaps and bounds ahead of crapple these days.

I hope apple crashes and burns with the iphoney 5.. Sure they have their "fanboys/fangirls" but until they start to innovate and make their phones actually readable and usable, they are stuck in the past, kinda like the GOP..Crapple is suing Samsung not for stealing, its because Crapple can't compete anymore. Samsung is way ahead worldwide in phone sales, so Crapple has to sue to stop innovation and competition, again like the GOP.

We have 2 choices, Crapple or Android. Android wins hands down.

you have to realize that not everyone wants to customize their phones.
one of my good buddies bough the iPhone4s because....and i quote "I like the widgets of android, but i just dont want to think about my phone, i just want it to work without me thinking about it"

no matter what you say, the iphone 4 and 4s were THE most popular cell phones single android phone can touch them. people buy them becuase they are simple to use and "dumb proof" and they are just used to iOS. and the iphone5 is going to be the same. even if it is just an iphone 4s with a larger screen, people will FLOCK to it.

I'm not a fan of Apple but i will say this - competition is good. Look at what Apple brought out over the past years and then look at Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony, and countless others. Without one pushing the limits, where wouuld Samsung and others be? I'm glad Apple is still in the game, and of course they will with the quality of their portfolio with products to come. But i certainly wouldn't want Apple to crash and burn. That would only mean that product development wouldn't be as great as it is. To the king, the spoils!

I too am so hoping that the Note 2 lands on Sprint. That would be like the best news I could ever get out of this event.

I was really hoping we might see the rumored Note competitor from HTC. I have a mystery upgrade on Verizon that I am itching to use if something comes along that can pull me away from the GNex. Though I will still hold on to my GNex for the latest updates. So far Verizon's lineup this year has ranged from predictable (GS3) to downright meh (Droid Incredible 4G LTE). I want to see a flagship level device from HTC, maybe a phone that takes screen res to the next level like the rezound did.

I wonder if the Note 2 will still have a central physical button?

Personally I don't care; but if Samsung used Vanilla Android, half their problems with Apple would vanish. They make the Nexus, so just how hard would it be?