What we can expect from smartphones in 2018

2017 was not the revolutionary year we wanted. Of course, some devices were interesting last year, and there is no doubt that some technologies are on the verge of glory, but 2017 wasn’t really that great overall. Looking at all of the exciting changes and differences in smartphones so far in 2018, it’s looking like things could very well change soon.

Our expectations are high. Some smartphones are classics (watertight, fast loading, etc.), others are more idealistic (more affordable prices, a return to the mini-jack plug from some manufacturers, etc.). They have all been discussed in many of our articles over the past couple of years, often at length. So let’s take a closer look at some of the more recent news and get an idea for the year to come.

18:9 Screen 

You might say,  “It’s unique to high-end smartphones”. We instantly think of the Galaxy Note 8, LG V30 and other flagships, but the 18:9 screen is no longer limited to these high-end phones. The Wiko View for example still offer this large screen, and other smartphones that are not necessarily as popular or well known, such as the Huawei Honor 9i.

It is therefore likely that this screen format will become more common in mid-range phones. The Galaxy A5 (2018), for example, could adopt this idea since the design will be inspired by the Galaxy S8. One question remains unanswered: do we want it? A large screen is convenient for multimedia content and is now considered aesthetically pleasing, but it also makes the device more susceptible to damage on impact, and more surface area means more scratches overtime.

AndroidPIT HTC U11 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note8 1931 HTC U11 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 both have a 18:9 screen. © AndroidPIT

Quick unlocking

If the screen covers most of the front surface, there is no room for a fingerprint reader. There are not many solutions either: change the size of the player, move it to the back (as Samsung and LG did), or replace it. The first option is not really feasible, both in terms of aesthetics and practicality. The second one showed its limitations with the S8+ and Note 8+. When the model is large the button becomes difficult to reach, too high and it is difficult to press. If it is too low it becomes annoying. One solution, currently under consideration, is to place this button directly on the screen, but the technology is not yet fully developed.

What about the third option? There are alternatives to fingerprint scanners, but they are not as practical. One is to scan the iris, the other is to scan the entire face so that facial recognition can be performed to unlock the device. However, Apple is doing quite well with this latest technology, which is used on the iPhone X with the ‘name Face ID’. Other manufacturers such as Samsung have adopted all of these methods, but they have not worked as well as they should. In 2018, we’re expecting a solution to this problem.

AndroidPIT eye sensor scanner Photo illustrating the iris scanner technology. © AndroidPIT

More artificial intelligence

Certainly, this point is intended more for flagships than mid-range smartphones. What’s certain is that artificial intelligence is trying to make its mark with smartphones, whether by using smart wizards such as Google Assistant or by using a hardware chipset like Huawei does on the Mate 10 Pro.

The race for artificial intelligence is leading to competition between manufacturers that are all working on developing this technology and we can therefore expect each of them to reveal their own AI features. AI has become a buzzword, creating intrigue among users (even if some doubt it) because this technology does have great potential and might in fact make life easier for smartphone users. This is illustrated fairly well with Google’s photo recognition system (Motion), or with the post-processing performance due to the NPU chip of the Mate 10 Pro as well as translation features.

amazon echo plus AI is irreplaceable for systems like Alexa © Amazon

What are your expectations for the smartphones of 2018? Let us know in the comments!

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Livestream: What can you expect from the Samsung Galaxy S9?

The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S9 is getting closer and closer. There are many rumors about the brand’s future flagship and the gossip keeps on coming. Curiosity is growing and we’re excited to discuss it with you today at 12.30 pm. Are you ready?

What will we be talking about this Friday?

The future Galaxy S9 and Plus will both be unveiled at the MWC in Barcelona next month and, like every other month, the South Korean manufacturers two top-of-the-range products attract everyone’s attention internationally. Expectations are high and so no doubt Samsung will try to impress us with new features.

The camera will undoubtedly be updated, and on the Plus, we expect that the dual camera will be implemented to the back. Enough with the spoilers, tune in with us and be ready with your questions and comments!

Be sure to tune in at 12.30 pm US time, (or 5.30 pm if you are in the UK) on our YouTube or Facebook page!

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CES 2018: What to expect in mobile tech, smart home, VR and more

What is CES?

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest high-tech trade shows in the world and focuses entirely on technological innovation in consumer electronics. It takes place every January in Las Vegas and has been running now for over 50 years. This year it lasts from January 9-12.

This event brings together professionals, journalists and individual tech aficionados. CES 2017 was a record-breaker, welcoming more than 4,000 exhibiting companies and over 180,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas to showcase the latest innovations from the global tech industry.

What will be the hot trends of CES 2018?

Obviously, we’re excited for the next generation of Android devices that are being revealed: smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. Smartphones aren’t the main focus of CES, however, with many manufacturers holding back some big hitters for February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Having said that consumer tech has moved beyond smartphones, so we can expect to see many more interesting devices and technologies based on last years developments. This means drones, smart home devices and voice assistants, driverless cars, the internet of things, AI making everything that much more smarter and connected, 3D printers, new kinds of wearables, plus new accessories for AR and VR.

AndroidPIT IFA 2016 ehang drone 2182 We can expect to see some new drones. / © AndroidPIT

Asus: New ZenFone?

Traditionally, Asus presents the new ZenFone at the Las Vegas show. However, that could change this year as Asus has taken advantage of an event in Rome to present the new collection. 

Huawei: Making it in America 

Huawei’s CEO, Richard Yu has confirmed that some of Huawei handsets will soon be sold by US wireless carriers, starting sometime in 2018. The first such phone will be in its Mate 10 family of devices. Yu did not state which specific carriers would sell Huawei phones, but he did reveal that more information on those sales plans will be announced in early January during CES 2018.

Huawei could also take advantage of the CES to expand its vision of the smartphone and what the future holds for us. AI-assisted smartphones could be in the spotlight. The brand could also show its interest in the Internet of Things so we can expect to see more and more ‘smart’ objects arriving on the scene.

HTC: Double down on virtual reality?

With his HTV Vive headset, the Taiwanese manufacturer had immersed us (and the fortunes of the company) firmly in the virtual reality world. The Taiwanese manufacturer plans to improve the ecosystem so we can expect to see new accessories and other VR-specific content.

LG: New robots?

LG has participated in the CES since the beginning, so the South Korean manufacturer will of course be present at the show. As we would expect, LG could introduce new smartphones, especially in the entry-level and mid-range segments. 

Last year, the fashionable technology seemed to be the intelligent robot that acts as both a personal assistant and manager of home technologies. Amazon has its Amazon Echo, Google has its Google Home. LG seems to be interested in this technology with its robots. LG could provide other robots that you can place in the house, it will be in some ways extensions that offer other functions.

lg hub robot 2 Will LG’s robots be in the spotlight again? / © LG

Sony: TVs?

We haven’t heard much news from Sony about their smartphones for CES, though we have a good idea of their strategy for 2018. 

But in January, the Japanese firm could push its TVs. We expect that the next line of Bravias will feature OLED screens, as Sony has resumed production of them in 2017. Sony will hold its press conference on Monday 8 January at 17:00 on the Sony stand.

Samsung: The new A8 and more?

While the South Korean manufacturer is unlikely to present its Galaxy S9, the new A8 and A8+ are expected to be at least teased at CES. Samsung could also unveil some new concepts for the future as well as new TV sets, including a 150-inch giant TV.

TCL : A new BlackBerry ?

BlackBerry has certainly abandoned the manufacture of smartphones, preferring to turn to software rather than hardware, but this does not mean that we will no longer see phones from this brand. Its partner TCL takes over. It could take the opportunity to present a new model, or at least a prototype to replace the KeyOne.

Xiaomi : Android TV, routers ?

Last year, Xiaomi had once again presented us with devices for the Chinese market: Android TV MI TV 4 (65 inches), Mi Router HD and a white Mi Mix.

Xiaomi’s Vice President Wang Xiang explained that the CESwas an excellent opportunity to become better known. and that it is important to “keep in mind that the CES Is not a conference on the US market, it is an international conference at which it makes sense to present products for the Chinese market and other countries”. Once again this year, Xiaomi may have some surprises in store for us. 

Auto manufacturers

While motor shows are becoming increasingly high-tech, the opposite is also true. The CES will certainly be an opportunity to discover new developments in the field of cars, or at least smart cars. Digital assistants, such as Alexa or Google Assistant, should become more widespread in cars. Dashboards will become increasingly high-tech.

What are you hoping to see from CES 2018 ?

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OnePlus' Paris event on September 19: What can we expect?

OnePlus has just sent out invites to an event scheduled for September 19 in Paris? We’re not expecting a brand new device. Instead, French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac will bring a touch of the fashion world to OnePlus. 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is a French designer with noble origins who loves bright colors, as you can see from his collections. What does he have to do with OnePlus? The first thought is that the brand may have decided to release a special edition of OnePlus 5, as it has already done with the OnePlus 3T Colette Edition, which released on the 20th anniversary of the French brand.

oneplus leak paris September 19 is the big day. / © OnePlus

The teaser of the leaked invitation, courtesy of Techadvisor, is accompanied by the phrase “When the style meets its machine, one night in September in Paris”. What does “the machine” refer to? Probably the OnePlus 5, and maybe a special edition of it.

A trusted source provided us with two images of the possible innovations that OnePlus is preparing to show during the event in Paris:

oneplus leak A special edition of the OnePlus 5 may be on its way! / © AndroidPIT

The contraption shown on the left looks like a shoulder support, the kind worn by photographers to keep a camera’s weight from stressing the neck. It’s an accessory designed for photography, and considering that the OnePlus 5 is all about photography… Unfortunately, we do not have any additional info on this ‘fashion’ accessory, but the image on the right resembles a OnePlus 5 box, but redesigned with Shot on OnePlus JCC+ written on the sides.

OnePlus offers all students a 10% discount on the OnePlus 5

We only have to wait a week to find out what’s in store from OnePlus, but in the meantime, the brand is offering a 10 percent discount on the OnePlus 5 for students.

Are you curious to find out what OnePlus has in store for us on September 19? Are you thinking of taking advantage of the 10% discount for the purchase of OnePlus 5? Let us know in the comments!

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You can expect Android Oreo apps to integrate better with Google Assistant

Android Oreo, also known as Android 8.0, has certainly set the Android-powered smartphone world abuzz with its recent release, delivering a fair number of features and functions that will continue to see Google’s mobile operating system move forward with confidence. You can expect an improved Google Assistant experience with apps running on an Android Oreo-powered device.

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Efficiency and convenience are two keywords among smartphone users of today. In fact, just about everyone would appreciate both qualities, and not just while using their smartphones, but in life as well. After all, nobody likes to wait for anything: just take a look at the hospital queues or spend a day at the tax office and you will get the picture. Google has their pulse on what users want with the roll out of Android Oreo, where apps that run on the latest Android version will be able to integrate better with Google Assistant.

With Android Oreo installed on your smartphone, you will be able to launch Google Assistant directly from the app itself. This paves the way for a greater degree of integration between Google Assistant and a constantly growing number of third-party apps that have been specially programmed and designed to work within the Android Oreo environment. This is a positive development from Google, knowing that the technology giant is always on the lookout to increase the influence of their virtual assistant on Android-powered devices.

AndroidPIT Google assistant 9262 Google Assistant receives better third party app integration with Android 8.0 Oreo. / © AndroidPIT

In the past, launching Google Assistant meant pressing the home button down for longer than usual, or speaking a keyword to the device. With Android Oreo, it is possible for third-party apps to do so within the app itself. This would enable the activity manager to launch a new task, and it will be reflected in a layer that is above the other ongoing activities without having the multi-window function interfere with it.

We know that Android is flexible enough for you to select a default assistant application, and this flexibility in Android Oreo would then pave the way for launching your preferred assistant inside a third-party application that supports such a feature.

Right now, Google Assistant still has a lot of catch up to do with Amazon’s Alexa when it comes to playing the role of a virtual assistant in terms of integration with third-party services, but we believe that Google is definitely on the right track. There is still room for improvement as Google cements the legacy of Google Assistant on smartphones.

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Google I/O 2017: here's what to expect

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Google I/O 2017: date, location and schedule

The Google I/O developer conference will take place between May 17 and 19 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. 

Google has released the schedule on the I/O webpage. From it, we can see the three-day event includes a two-hour opening keynote on May 17, leading on to many presentations and discussions of hot topics like Google’s smart assistant, Firebase, design, Internet of Things (IoT), VR, gaming and machine learning and more. Keep reading to find out more.

Watch Google I/O livestream: the Google I/O keynote live

Keep up with the action on AndroidPIT. You can watch the livestream of the Google I/O keynote, hosted by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, right here on May 17. It’s happening at 10 am PDT (that’s 1 pm in New York and 6 pm in London). It will last approximately one and a half hours. In addition, several more talks will also be broadcast live and recorded for later viewing.

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google io16 What could we see at Google I/O 2017? / © Google

Google I/O 2017: what’s new?

Google I/O 2017: other topics

Android O

Last year, Google discussed a number of improvements to the Android software including a long-awaited split-screen mode, the ability to reply to texts directly from their notification and an update to its battery saving function Doze. And, it wouldn’t be Google I/O without mention of the next Android version, so the then unnamed Android N has since flourished and is rolling out as Android 7.0 Nougat.

Ahead of this year’s event, Google hasn’t yet revealed what that O stands for, but has detailed some of the features and made the developer preview, which we tried, available to download. The public beta should also be available quite soon. From the details released so far, it seems most of the updates will be aimed at streamlining notifications and performance (including, though not limited to, improving battery life). It should also bring a picture-in-picture feature for watching a video while doing other things too – finally.

We’d expect a more detailed reveal of Android O at Google I/O in May. Let us know what you think the final sugary name for Android 8.0 will be in our poll.

Android O Hero Could it be Android Oreo? / © ANDROIDPIT

Small optimizations bring websites and apps closer together

In the future, you will be able to download websites and save them for offline viewing, similar to an app; Google calls this Progressive Web Apps. Apps, on the other hand, will be able to be launched and used instantly, similar to opening a website, even though they’re not installed on the phone; Google calls this Instant apps.

In addition, there are several sessions on topics like the future of audio and video, or how the web can be further accelerated with the help of algorithms.

Firebase

The cloud-based developer platform Firebase helps app developers bring their apps faster and more reliably to the web. Certain aspects such as optimization or the success control of the app are dealt with in the system. So the developer should be able to earn more money with the app; 30 percent of which remains with Google.

Firebase is an integral platform for developing, controlling and monitoring app services. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Microsoft Azure. it’s a great platform for cloud developers and as developers don’t need to worry about the infrastructure required by an app (for example, maintaining a server).

This year, Firebase has a major role at Google I/O. Talks around the subject include how to improve businesses, how to make an app attractive, how to use the Google cloud and how to make apps available to hundreds of thousands of users.

Google Allo brings Google Assistant to all platforms

Further advances in machine learning have led to Google’s developments in messaging. Allo was first launched  in 2016 and since then hasn’t really proved to be that popular. Messaging is a crowded market. We’ll be able to see at Google I/O 2017 whether there are any reasons why users might be enticed to try it in the future now that Google Assistant is rolling out well beyond the Pixel phones. There’s also talk of Google Allo for the desktop, which would bring Google Assistant to your PC – an interesting prospect for some.

google io keynote 2016 allo 9 Google Allo’s interface. / © Google

Google Assistant, essentially a smarter, more contextually-aware version of Google Now, launched at I/O last year with the ability to ask questions using the familiar OK Google command, and then follow up after receiving the initial answer.

The event this year will broach topics like control of all kinds of devices through the intelligent assistant (like controlling your TV or your car), and of course, improvements in voice recognition and a desire for Google Assistant to be more conversational will be discussed.

Google i o 2016 keynote 8 The Google Assistant is becoming even more helpful. / © Google

Google Home 2 may bring voice control and a powerful wireless router

With the purchase of Nest for $ 3.2 billion in 2014, Google signaled that it was keen to expand into the Internet of Things market. Google Home pretty much confirms this.

Google Home is a voice-enabled assistant (similar to Amazon Echo) to help you manage everyday tasks, automate your home and answer questions. You can use it to send messages, turn lights on, change your calendar and diary details and provide answers in a similar fashion to Google Now. 

Google Home also uses Google Assistant, and launched at last year’s I/O. At the least, we’d expect to see big name partnerships with third-parties to enable new functionality and perhaps even a closing of the ability gap between Google Assistant on Home and smartphones. At the most, we might expect to see a second iteration of the device: the Google Home 2

Google Home 2 rumors started to surface in April, talking about an integrated wireless router capable of mesh networking. This would allow for “Ok Google” voice control and a self-optimizing network all throughout your home.

google io keynote home 12 Google Home launched later in 2016 after I/O. / © Google

Daydream and VR

Mobile, approachable and for everyone, these were Google’s guiding principles for Google Cardboard, whose spread in the market has been sluggish. Google created its own Virtual Reality division and the results of its work is the software platform known as Daydream which seeks to unify smartphones, controllers, apps and VR technology. Android Nougat devices which support it are called Daydream-Ready and major OEMs had Daydream-ready phones released in 2016 and early 2017 at the CES, like the Asus Zenfone AR.

At this year’s I/O, only one section of the conference is entirely dedicated to virtual reality with an emphasis on how the 3D Unity engine can be used to get great VR experiences. 

google io keynote 2016 vr 3 VR will play a major role in the future of Android. / © Google

Google I/O 2017: other topics

Google Duo

Google also talked about Duo at I/O 2016. It’s a single, one-to-one video calling app which is said to “perform well even on slow networks”. It works on both Android and iOS.

One of its standout features is a function which Google calls ‘Knock Knock’ which shows you a live video stream of the caller before you even answer the call. Once you do, the video will continue but you will now be part of the conversation. It’s said to be both fast and smooth. Perhaps we will hear more about Duo as Hangouts shifts its focus toward businesses.

Here is our review of Google Duo.

Android Wear 2.0

The Android smartphone market is about to get interesting, and we will see evidence of this at Google I/O 2017. Android Wear 2.0 is the biggest Android Wear update yet and will make smartwatches more functional and independent than ever before, at least according to Google.

Android Wear 2.0, which was shown off first at Google I/O in 2016, will bring a new Play Store for Android Wear apps and a new interface, as well as other improvements like the ability to smart reply from your watch, the introduction of a new dedicated keyboard, and handwriting recognition powered by Google’s machine learning. 

While it was shown off last May, it only started making its way out to manufacturers in February 2017, so we wouldn’t expect Google to show of Android Wear 3.0 just yet necessarily.

google io keynote 2016 android wear 5 Three major additions coming in Android Wear 2.0. / © Google

Possibly the most exciting news regarding Android Wear 2.0 is that all of the new features, from messaging to making calls, can be achieved while your phone is switched off. Apps now have the ability to function without being tethered to a smartphone via WiFi or cell network. 

Chrome OS

Despite suggestions that Chrome OS is to be unified with Android, this isn’t happening. Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome OS & Play Hiroshi Lockheimer has denied the rumors of a full OS merger. With the hardware lines between devices becoming ever blurrier – the Pixel C is certainly more ‘netbook’ than earlier Google tablets – Google is likely to keep cross-pollinating with software as well. An example of this is that 2017 Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps

chrome2Chrome OS announcements could be made at I/O 2017. / © AndroidPIT

Android Auto

Android Auto is still on the rise and we will likely see manufacturers announce new car models compatible with Google’s system. Hyundai is very on top of updates, providing compatibility with both Google Auto and Blue Link, which allows drivers to use Google Home to start their car, lock the doors and more. Hyundai’s enthusiasm for the latest software integrations is a good sign for adoption of Android innovations in the automotive sector in general. Since many more people buy affordable Hyundai vehicles than Maseratis, Android Auto is more likely to catch on with the general public and drive the tech forward.

In 2015, Waze (which is part of Alphabet, the holding company of Google) executives stated that the intelligent navigation system could be inserted into Android Auto. Google I/O 2017 is the perfect place to promote this, since it is still on Google’s to-do list.

android auto mirror link settings More and more (affordable) car makers are picking up Android Auto. / © AndroidPIT

Self-driving cars

The autonomous car is another project Google is working on. 2015 was a turbulent year for the company, with Google’s prototype getting involved in an accident with injuries for the first time: although that accident, and all subsequent incidents, were found to be the result of human error. The same is still happening with other self-driving cars, such as Tesla.

At Google I/O, we should see a presentation on figures and what’s next. The location that Google has chosen for last and this year’s I/O also lends itself to a demonstration of a fleet of self-driving vehicles.

google car prototypeGoogle Car: an I/O 2016 centerpiece. / © Google

Project Ara

We’ve been hearing about Project Ara, Google’s modular smartphone, since 2013 but it’s still yet to be released. In 2015, the company hoped to launch a test version of it in Puerto Rico, but this was met with delays and the launch was eventually canceled. The project has since been suspended by Google, as modularity is evidently no longer popular since the LG G6 showed LG giving up on the idea as well. If by some chance there are any updates regarding Ara being picked back up, we could hear about them at I/O 2017, but until manufacturers figure out how to implement modularity well, it’s not likely any time soon.

project ara 02Project Ara may be discussed at I/O 2017 / © Google

Project Tango

Augmented reality may be the next big thing, taking the best of virtual reality and amplifying it, but it’s still relatively early days. The technology uses motion-tracking and depth sensing to build a 3D world onto physical surroundings. At CES 2017, many manufacturers made announcements about AR and VR devices, apps and accessories. We can expect to hear more on this front at I/O.

lenovo project tango smartphone 1 Lenovo’s Project Tango smartphone has arrived. / © Google

Project Fi

Google’s cross-carrier network, Project Fi, automatically switches carriers, providing more reliable access to mobile data. It also evaluates open WiFi connections and uses those if they meet certain criteria. Project Fi is now available for Pixel, Nexus and a few other devices. At Google I/O 2017, Google may take advantage of the occasion to announce more compatible devices.

project fi google Project Fi could see further compatibility. / © Google

Can’t wait for Google I/O? That’s all we have for now, but what would you like to see at Google I/O 2017? Let us know in the comments below.

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IFA 2017: what to expect this September

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What is IFA?

IFA presents the newest devices and latest innovations from around the world; taking place in Berlin, Germany, between September 1-6 at the Messe ExpoCenter (though it opens for the press a little earlier). This massive venue saw around 240,000 visitors and 1,800 exhibitors during six days of presentations last year, and we expect the same this year.

IFA is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in the world, starting in 1924 and going through 1939. It picked up again in 1950, following the end of WWII. IFA stands for ‘Internationale Funkausstellung’ which is German for ‘International Radio Exhibition’. In the past, it was a biennial event but starting in 2005 became an annual event. 

In 2003, IFA was the largest consumer electronics fair in the world with 273,800 visitors to more than 1,000 exhibitors. There was over $ 2.8 billion in placed orders for products. It also has an average of 6,800 accredited journalists from 78 countries – and AndroidPIT will be there in force.

ifa berlin teaser IFA is coming! / © ANDROIDPIT

When is IFA 2017 and how do I get in?

IFA 2017 is happening from September 1-6 at the Berlin ExpoCenter. Once tickets go on sale, you will be able to pick up one-day IFA tickets to the exhibition for around the same price as last year: 17 EUR (about $ 20). Other options including packages with Berlin public transportation should also be available. Also worthy of note, according to ECI News, some IFA visitors will get a special souvenir this year: a 3D-printed mini model of themselves.

Tickets will be available at this link soon:

Trends to expect at IFA 2017

This year’s pre-IFA Global Press Conference, which happened from April 20-23 in Lisbon, gave us a clear idea of what trends to expect from the trade show. Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin where IFA is taking place, said that “We believe it’s time to define consumer electronics in a new way,” and that the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds are blurring. The “consumerisation” of devices reflects this and, according to Göke, it’s making room for “healthcare and wellness, automotive, mobile devices, Internet of Things and the smart home, to new fields like drones, virtual, augmented and mixed reality.”

As such, we can expect to see innovative products in a wide range of categories, which are now becoming more interconnected thanks to voice controlled AI assistants. These assistants and their ecosystems are competing against each other to connect all aspects of your life, from your smartphone to your smart home, and even your connected car. At this year’s IFA, Microsoft may have something exciting to present on that topic: the fruits of its just-announced collaborations with Intel, HP and Harmon Kardon. Here are a few of the categories that will dominate this year’s IFA:

  • Wireless connected speakers, headphones and hi-fi devices capable of playing lossless audio
  • AR and VR hardware, including headsets and 360 cameras for professionals and ones that attach to smartphones
  • Competition between voice controlled AI assistants and their connected ecosystems
  • New smart wearables that can monitor vital functions and movement with three sensors attached across the body

IFA 2017 predictions

Jump to manufacturer:

Samsung

Galaxy Note 8

It’s rumored that the Galaxy Note 8 will be revealed at IFA 2017, and the Executive Director of IFA, Jens Heithecker, is a big fan of the idea. He said that “Samsung will have the biggest presentation” at the conference, and that from his perspective, “IFA would be the better place” to unveil the new Note since journalists will already be gathered there, as opposed doing it in another city in August.

Samsung’s first quarter results say that to stay competitive in the second half of this year, the company will launch a new flagship smartphone, in addition to launching new products in the mid to low-end segment. That’s more evidence pointing to a reveal of the Note 8 around the time of IFA 2017, and also a hint that we may get to see some fresh affordable devices there as well.

Galaxy X

There have been some unsubstantiated rumors that Samsung could reveal the foldable Galaxy X smartphone, but this is very, very unlikely. The Principal Engineer of Samsung Display, Kim Tae-woong said in April that the bezel-less display is a success right now and there is no need to rush a technology that won’t be ready for commercial launch until 2019. That basically confirms we won’t be seeing a Galaxy X prototype at IFA this September.

Bixby

Bixby may also be front and center at IFA 2017. The AI assistant which comes with the new Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn’t have it’s central feature sorted out yet, and IFA might be a good chance to set it right. Voice control, which is currently only available in South Korea, may make its worldwide launch at the conference. We’re excited to see what it can do, and which languages it will be capable of supporting, as only a handful have been revealed so far.

Samsung Gear S4

At last year’s IFA, Samsung presented its flagship wearable, the Gear S3 smartwatch, which successfully combined the fitness features of the Gear Fit2 with the practicality of the Gear S2’s functionality, and made it iOS compatible. Android Wear 2.0 has since been released, and even so, Samsung’s Tizen OS is now narrowly beating Android Wear for the first time since 2015, at 19 and 18 percent market share respectively, according to a Q1 2017 report from Strategy Analytics. The same report shows Apple is still currently dominating the smartwatch OS market worldwide with 57 percent market share, but Samsung could announce the Samsung Gear S4 at IFA 2017 and get a bigger piece of the pie before the Apple Watch 3 comes around in late 2017 or early 2018.

AndroidPIT samsung gear s3 18 The Gear S3 Classic features Samsung’s rotating bezel design. / © AndroidPIT

An AR headset or the Gear VR 3, but not a new Gear 360

Samsung Electronics VP Dr. Sung-Hoon Hong said at the Virtual Reality Summit late last year that the South Korean company is planning to release an AR (augmented reality) headset sometime after the second iteration of the Gear VR, which came out alongside the Note 7 in August of 2016. We could get a preview of this mixed reality headset, said to be similar to Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap, at IFA 2017 – or maybe even a Samsung Gear VR 3. Samsung’s revamped Gear 360 was just launched alongside the Galaxy S8 in April 2017, so we almost definitely won’t be seeing a new one at IFA 2017.

Huawei

At last year’s IFA, Huawei presented two new smartphones, the Nova and Nova Plus, in addition to the 8.1-inch MediaPad M3 tablet with Harmon / Kardon stereo speakers. Given that it launched two mid-range smartphones at IFA last year, and it already came out with the P10 flagship in February, it’s not likely that we’ll see a high-end smartphone from Huawei at IFA 2017 – but we may see some lower-end phones or a tablet this time around.

AndroidPIT huawei nova 2 The stylish 5-inch Huawei Nova. / © AndroidPIT

Sony

At IFA 2016, Sony revealed the Xperia X Compact and Xperia XZ. At MWC 2017, it revealed the Xperia XZs and XZ Premium, along with the super mid-range Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra. So, what does the company have up its sleeve for IFA 2017? Well, it didn’t launch a new flagship tablet in 2016 or at MWC, so we could see a new tablet as a follow up to the Z4 – although, since the Z series was discontinued in favor of the X series in February, it won’t be called the Xperia Z6.

sony xperia z4 tablet 3 It’s time for a new Sony Tablet as a follow up to the Xperia Z4. / © ANDROIDPIT

HTC

HTC has six to seven smartphones planned for 2017, of which three are accounted for already: the HTC U Play, HTC U Ultra and the HTC U11. Given that the flagship and mid-range have been covered already this year, we may see some more affordable offerings from HTC at IFA 2017. At last year’s IFA the company introduced the mid-range HTC One A9s, which looked very similar to the iPhone 6S. Perhaps we’ll get another stylish addition to the lineup, or even a Vive-branded smartphone.

ANDROIDPIT htc one a9s 3 The HTC One A9s has a great style, but only 2,300 mAh battery capacity. / © ANDROIDPIT

Lenovo

At last year’s IFA, Lenovo presented the modular Moto Z Play and the unique Yoga Book tablet. And during MWC 2017, the Taiwanese company presented the Moto G5 and G5 Plus and set a fresh course for this mid-range series to become state-of-the-art. At IFA 2017, we may see the Moto E4 and E4 Plus, a couple of rumored budget phones with 5,000 mAh batteries.

Asus

At IFA 2016, Asus presented its new Zenfone 3 series, which included the Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Laser, and the premium Zenfone 3 Deluxe with 6 GB RAM. At IFA 2017, we could see the new Asus ZenWatch 4, as the circular, overpriced ZenWatch 3 was presented at last year’s event. Asus is able to accomplish a lot in a handset, regardless of price point, so we’re excited to find out what it will present at IFA 2017.

AndroidPIT asus zenfone 3 deluxe 7 The Zenfone 3 Deluxe has an exceptional camera. / © AndroidPIT

So what do you want to see this year at IFA? Let us know in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Apple WWDC 2017: what to expect

This year, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) will be held in San Jose from June 5 to 9. As always, you can expect updates for Apple’s various operating systems: iOS, macOS and watchOS and beta versions of these will offer insight into new features. Here’s a round-up of what we expect from the WWDC keynote.

Every year, Apple invites developers to its Word Wide Developer Conference. The conference is mainly concerned with software, but often Apple presents its hardware here as well. As usual, new products and software features will be presented during the keynote.

WWDC keynote livestream

Apple restricts the livestream of the keynote to certain browsers, like Safari or the Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10. We will inform you once the link to the stream for this year’s keynote becomes available in a separate article, along with instructions for how to watch it on Android or Windows devices using VLC player. The WWDC 2017 keynote will begin at 10 AM PDT on Monday, June 5.

Software at the WWDC

iOS 11

Social video platform

A major focus of the iOS 11 update will be on mobile video editing. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple wants to capitalize on social media’s popularity by developing a video sharing and editing app. Whether this functionality is integrated into existing social networks or Apple makes its own exclusive one remains to be seen.

New iPad features

An insider report, also from Bloomberg, says that the iPad Pro’s pencil support will be improved. Accordingly, handwriting recognition and drawing should be optimized. Apple should deliver this improvement swiftly, as the highly recommended Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 with S-Pen has already been released.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 2134 The S-Pen features of Samsung’s Tab S3 are top-notch. / © AndroidPIT

macOS 10.13, tvOS 11 and watchOS 4

A new version of the Mac operating system for laptops and desktop computers is expected. Unfortunately, the rumor mill is more of a wishlist for iTunes, FaceTime and HomeKit improvements than a source of information at the moment. 

Nexus player vs apple tv hero Twins: Apple TV and Android TV. / © ANDROIDPIT

There’s a bit more reliable information on tvOS, though. The addition of multi-user support and picture-in-picture mode are expected. These features will be similar to those available with Android O for TVs and set-top boxes like the Nexus Player and Nvidia Shield TV.

Siri 2.0

In the past year, Apple acquired the machine learning startup Turi. Apple will make use of their expertise to spice up Siri, and possibly launch a Siri 2.0, according to some analysts and Apple blogs.

siri vs google now Siri has to keep up with Assistant. / © ANDROIDPIT

Hardware

Siri Smart Speaker

To go with Siri 2.0, Apple is expected to launch a smart speaker in the style of Amazon Echo, Google Home and Microsoft Invoke. This would integrate with Apple’s HomeKit, and could be used to control your smart home accessories.

AndroidPIT Amazon Echo 0983 An Amazon Echo Dot already costs $ 50. / © ANDROIDPIT

10.5-inch iPad Pro size

The iPad Pro will get an update and be available in a new 10.5-inch size, and we expect further optimization for the Pencil.

MacBook updates

The hardware in the latest MacBook Pro received criticism, as it was already considered obsolete by the time it was released. Now, we expect an update to Intel’s new Kaby-Lake processor. Whether Apple makes a big announcement about it, or quietly mentions it, we will find out on Monday. Regardless, the update is entirely necessary and there are even more Windows-based alternatives to compete with coming before the release of the next generation of MacBooks. 

The MacBook Air is also likely to get an update, and the iMac and Mac Pro will will probably get a hardware refresh.

Early verdict

This year’s WWDC is really shaping up. Siri 2.0 is expected to be the most exciting news, but perhaps Apple will surprise us with a Wow moment. For now, we’re expecting iterative hardware and software improvements across the board. For Apple to keep up with Google, and especially Amazon, this will be necessary, as Alexa and Echo already have a big advantage with their affordable pricing and fast-growing ecosystem.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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