The last of the year's big trade shows is almost upon us as we pack our bags and head to Berlin, Germany for IFA 2015.
IFA is more like CES in the sense that it's a full-on consumer electronics show, where something like MWC is focused on mobile. That means that besides smartphones and tablets you'll find laptops and connected smart-devices nestled between the halls filled with toasters and washing machines.
In particular, IFA often has a large contingence of PCs. Perhaps not on the scale that you'd find at Computex, but nevertheless abundant. There's no Lumia event scheduled as was initially rumored, but Microsoft is an exhibitor this year and will be presenting an OEM partner focused keynote.
So, what are we expecting to see, hoping for or just taking a wild stab in the dark at? Here's our full show preview.
Microsoft is in town for 2015
Microsoft hasn't exhibited at IFA in years past, despite the sheer volume of Windows devices that usually appear. This year, that all changes. Microsoft has a booth (or two, as the show guide seems to imply) and will be presenting a keynote at the impressive Citycube facility on Friday, September 4. And we now know Microsoft will be livestreaming the whole thing.
Delivering it will be Nick Parker, CVP of the OEM division at Microsoft. The theme is of course, more Windows 10. Parker delivered what we would assume to be a similar style of event in June at Computex Taipei, and used it to show off some very exciting new Windows 10 devices. While we have no indication as to what could be unveiled in Berlin, Computex heralded the world debut of the new Dell XPS 15, a super-secretive tablet from HP and a stunning Ultrabook from Toshiba among others.
One thing we can pretty safely say is that this presentation will not discuss Surface or Lumia. Nick Parker handles third-party relationships at Microsoft, meaning the likes of Dell, ASUS, Toshiba, HP and so on. First-party hardware is not in his remit. The latest rumors point to a separate event in the U.S. in October for news of this variety.
The Windows 10 device ecosystem is going to be pretty huge, we know this from Parker's last presentation in Taipei. With companies like Dell and Toshiba already unveiling exciting new products with Microsoft's latest and greatest in mind, who knows what else is in store.
No Dell, plenty of Lenovo
Of all the companies making Windows laptops this year, Dell and Lenovo stand out as two that impressed us the most. With the likes of the XPS 13 (and soon the XPS 15) and the Thinkpad X1 Carbon, both have made substantial efforts to climb to the top of the tree.
In terms of IFA presence, we've been told Dell has no specific plans. That's not to say their devices might not be floating around, perhaps at the Microsoft booth, but we're not expecting any new announcements. Not unless Nick Parker drops a bomb like he did in Taipei with the XPS 15 during the Microsoft event.
Lenovo on the other hand will be there in force. With a press event planned for Wednesday, September 2, we're told to expect a whole bundle of new announcements. The kicker there, of course, is that Lenovo announcements will almost certainly be across both Windows 10 and Android.
Toshiba and HP could have something new
We've been told to expect something new, related to Windows 10, from both HP and Toshiba in Berlin. That's about all the information we've been given, but it's also not unexpected. HP is still to show in more detail the "revolutionary note taking tablet" that debuted (briefly) at Computex. Will we see more in Berlin? Who knows, but we're certainly hoping.
ASUS likes to announce things
Whenever there's an ASUS event going on you usually get two things: Entertainment and plenty of new devices. There is an event going down in Berlin, but beyond the Android Wear powered Zenwatch 2, we're not really sure what else to expect. Recent events have seen new tablets, laptops and desktops, and it wouldn't be too far fetched to anticipate seeing something with Windows 10 on it in Berlin.
The event takes place on Wednesday, September 2.
New Acer phones?
A rumor surfaced some weeks ago that Acer was going to take a grand total of 4 new Windows Phones to Berlin (or Windows 10 Mobile phones, as would probably be more accurate.) All has been quiet since, but one thing that is confirmed is that Acer will be in Berlin hosting a press event on September 2.
The invite is styled in such a way that it suggests Acer's Predator gaming line could be featured, or we could be reading more into that than is necessary. Again, we saw a couple of new launches from Acer at Computex in the summer, and as a pretty serious Windows partner we'd expect at least something with Windows 10 on it in Berlin.
Acer got back into the Windows Phone game at Mobile World Congress with a promise to update that phone, the M220, to Windows 10 Mobile. Whether that happens still remains to be seen, but it showed a renewed commitment. Will there be new phones in Berlin? We'll soon find out.
IFA attracts manufacturers from all around the globe. For Microsoft, it's all about the partners, and there's always the chance that names we haven't mentioned here could spring a couple of announcements. There are smaller, locally focused Windows Phone makers that may have something either directly, or through Microsoft. There's also the likes of Samsung and LG that while not massive Windows partners these days, could always slip in some new announcements.
We're on the ground beginning September 1, with events starting on September 2. We'll be posting links to any liveblogs and livestreams closer to their respective times so keep it locked to Windows Central for the best from Berlin next week.