The last of the major trade shows of the year is upon us as we pack our bags and head for the German capital.
The IFA conference takes place every September in Berlin, and in past years has been the home of some huge Android announcements. The big elephant in the room was always the traditional announcement of the Galaxy Note at the pre-show press day. But with that out of the way already, you might think it's set to be a little quieter this year.
How wrong you'd be. Here's a look at what's going down at this years show.
Samsung is still throwing a party
Wait, the Galaxy Note has already been announced. So what's Samsung doing at IFA? The image above shows the Tempodrom, a sizable arena in downtown Berlin that has, in the previous four years, been the home of the Unpacked event to launch the new Galaxy Note. And once again, Samsung has hired it. But, for what?
At the end of the New York Unpacked event Samsung teased its next wearable, the circular Gear S2. We'd assume that any IFA showcase will feature the new smartwatch as one of its main attractions, but honestly, would Samsung hire a huge arena just to talk about a new smartwatch?
That's what's puzzling us right now. The big new phones have been launched for the fall season already in the Note 5 and the S6 edge+. Samsung also has its latest tablet, the Galaxy Tab S2 on sale, so what else could there be?
This is of course Samsung, so there could be any number of surprises. It's also entirely possible that the Korean giant would blow a ton of cash throwing an enormous launch event for a smartwatch. We'll find out for sure on Thursday, September 3 when it all goes down.
Huawei — new large phone and the actual launch of the Watch? (Finally)
Huawei continues to be an increasingly important player in the Android space. Enough talk of Nexus phones for now (because IFA really isn't the place for that,) but the Chinese makers own wares have had a habit of impressing us a great deal in the past 18 months.
One of those wares is the Huawei Watch, the company's first foray into the world of Android Wear. We first got our hot little hands on it after it was announced at Mobile World Congress. But, things have been pretty quiet since with regards to an actual launch date — at least until Amazon possibly jumped the gun this week. Would the IFA press conference be the place to finally get this thing out into the world? It's as good a place as any.
The other device we may expect to see from Huawei is a successor to last years Ascend Mate 7 which was launched in the very same building as 2015's event. The Mate 7 wasn't just a good phone for Huawei, it was a good phone, period. One we enjoyed a lot. Little has been said of any new version, but there have been rumblings of the name "Mate S." As with the P8 from earlier this year, we'd expect any new high-end phone to drop the "Ascend" from its title.
The big event goes down on Wednesday, Sept. 2, so we'll soon have our answers.
Sony — The Xperia Z5 cometh?
As is often the case leading up to a big Sony event, the devices we're going to see start leaking out. From what we've seen in recent weeks it looks like we're set to see an Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact make a debut in Berlin. Sony's pre-event teaser has focused on the camera, and recent leaks suggest that for the first time in a couple of years we might actually get a revised camera on Sony's flagship device.
We were a little down on Sony after its 2014 IFA showcase. Despite a number of announcements, none really wowed us (though PS4 remote play was very cool.) The troubled Japanese electronics maker isn't the powerhouse it once was, but it's still one of the most respected brands in a number of product categories. We've lots of things crossed that Sony will do something big at IFA 2015.
Sony's event takes place on Wednesday, September 2.
The ASUS Zenwatch 2
Another product that actually first appeared elsewhere, the ASUS Zenwatch 2 is the follow up to ASUS' first Android Wear watch of the same name that launched at IFA last year. We first saw it out in Taipei at Computex but only very briefly. ASUS showed it off without saying much of anything about it. We were told to expect it in Q3 2015, which puts it right on deck for the company's IFA press conference.
ASUS hasn't said anything since Computex about the Zenwatch 2, nor do we know for certain that it will be featured in Berlin. But, given what we've already seen and heard, we're optimistic.
It's also important to remember that ASUS loves announcing things. We've had a raft of new Android phones and tablets this year already, but that doesn't mean we won't get more. You just never know. ASUS will also likely split any new product announcements across Android and Windows 10.
The ASUS press conference takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Lenovo, but not Moto?
Lenovo has already teased its IFA event and we're expecting a number of announcements. As with ASUS, any announcements will most likely split across Android and Windows 10, but needless to say we're prepared for plenty of news. We've not really had any leaks or rumors to speak of, so there's not a whole lot to go on.
Motorola, Lenovo's other brand, hasn't been mentioned, either. The event on Wednesday, September 2, is all Lenovo. We've had plenty of tablets in recent times from Lenovo, such as the Yoga line, that launched in western markets, but the company's phones are still primarily Asia focused. It'd be good if IFA saw some smartphone launches for Europe, at least.
That covers off most of the big hitters that are throwing events in Berlin. But not everything gets a press conference launch, either. LG has a pretty low-key presence planned this year it seems, with a new mid-range tablet about all we've heard of so far.
Alcatel has also been something of a surprise package this year (as far back even as last years IFA), with the Idol 3 coming some months back and proving that they can make good phones. The company has a presence again at IFA and we're certainly interested to see what might be in store this year.
The best thing about a show like IFA is that you never know what surprises you might come across. The biggest names in consumer electronics all attend, and with TV and laptop makers galore you never know when we'll come across a new Android TV or Chromebook. And that's without even considering the sheer volume of connected devices that could spring up.
We're on the ground in Germany all week and we'll be back with specifics on liveblogs and livestreams closer to their respective times. But you'll want to keep it locked to the Android Central homepage and our dedicated IFA page for all the very best.