Some of the biggest companies in tech have descended upon Berlin to tease their latest and greatest products this week. Samsung, Motorola, LG, and so many other players have already unveiled new laptops, watches, and phones, and there's plenty more on the way. Intel has also just unveiled its new Skylake processor, which promises to take mobile computing to new heights. Stay tuned here for our selection of the biggest news from the show.
Sep 7, 2015
The PC industry is betting big on gamers
Acer, Asus, and Lenovo are on a charm offensive at IFA this year, and their target demographic is that reliably spendthrift group we know as gamers. Collectively, these three companies account for a third of global PC shipments, and they represent an industry-wide trend toward promoting more gaming gear. The hope is that slumping PC sales can be rejuvenated by appealing to the class of users who upgrade their hardware most often and spend most lavishly.Read Article >
The PC gaming market produced $21.5 billion in hardware sales last year, according to data from Jon Peddie Research, which is more than double the revenues derived from console sales. More notably, unlike the broader PC market, which continues shrinking, gaming PC sales are projected to increase over the next couple of years. The JPR analysis suggests the biggest chunk of gaming PC revenue — somewhere in the vicinity of 44 percent — comes from the so-called enthusiast segment, which the researchers identify as "very performance and style oriented, much like sports car owners."
I stared into the abyss of Sony's 4K phone and saw nothing new
There are many things ailing Sony's once-great empire. Its PC business is now its former PC business, and the mobile devices that were meant to save it have landed the company into even more trouble. In spite of making a series of very good Xperia smartphones, the Japanese company finds itself perpetually on the back foot against competitors that are either cheaper, more popular, better distributed, or some combination of all three. So how do you solve a problem like Sony's smartphone dilemma?Read Article >
Read next: The Sony Xperia Z5 review.
Hitting rock bottom, Kodak style
Oh, Kodak, you used to be an institution. When people needed new film for their cameras, yours was the first name they thought of. You encapsulated the joy of photography with one of the most elegant marketing slogans ever: the Kodak moment.Read Article >
But now you're trapped in a hexagonal prison of emotions. Regretting all the things you didn't do. Mourning the opportunities you didn't take and the adaptations you didn't make. Your reputation has reached its inevitable nadir. You are now a selfie stick brand.
Sep 4, 2015
Samsung’s Gear S2 can make me a believer in smartwatches
Read next: The Samsung Gear S2 review.Read Article >
A year ago, I was here at IFA in a state of exasperation. Every electronics company was throwing a diversity of awkward smartwatches at the wall and waiting to see what stuck. Nothing did, because they were all too big, unwieldy, and compromised. This year, though, Samsung has launched a volley so powerful and immediately convincing that it might just break the wall down entirely. I’ve just worn the first smartwatch that I would actually consider buying.
Parrot’s pillow-soft Zik 3 headphones never need wires
Trying on Parrot’s new Zik 3 headphones is like being swaddled in expensive upholstery. The wireless headphones’ plush exterior feels soft in your hand and fits snugly over your ears. Then Parrot’s new automatic noise canceling software kicks in and the outside world is muted before you start listening to whatever music you prefer. But in the same way that a treacherously squashy sofa can trap the unwary, the Zik 3 can be difficult to get full control over. Can too much comfort be a bad thing?Read Article >
Alcatel built a 17-inch Android tablet for your kitchen
Alcatel wants its new 17.3-inch Xess tablet to be a multipurpose hub for the family, providing recipes in the kitchen, films in the living room, and a digital whiteboard for to-do lists and upcoming events. However, the severely underpowered Android device doesn't seem to be capable of entertaining even a single individual, let alone a whole household. The device has a fine 1920 x 1080 display, but an unspecified 1.5 GHz processor and 2GB of RAM mean that even swiping through pages of apps becomes a chore as icons are dragged slowly across the screen. Alcatel has stressed that the Xess is still a prototype at this stage, but it's in need of some serious upgrades.Read Article >
Hands-on with Huawei's new flagship smartphone, the Mate SRead Article >
Huawei's design ideas might not be wholly original, but that doesn't mean the company's not building great smartphones. Its new flagship, the Mate S, is the case in point. Some models have a pressure-sensitive screen that just happens to have the same name as Apple's Force Touch technology and the rear and sides of the device might look like a HTC One M9, but this is still a device that's clean-looking, well built, and just a pleasure to hold in the hand.
Sep 3, 2015
Philips' new 4K TV transforms your living room into one huge screen
Philips made a splash at last year's IFA conference when it showed off a television set with embedded, handheld projectors that could take an image onscreen and extend it to the wall behind the set. The visual trick is intended to create a more immersive viewing experience as the picture pours off the screen. Now a variation of Philips' Ambilight technology, which it calls "Ambilight projection," is making its way to a new 65-inch AmbiLux 4K TV due out later this year.Read Article >
The Dutch lighting and technology giant debuted the TV at the IFA conference in Germany today, though it did not specify a price tag. It will be available in the fourth quarter of this year in Russia, Germany, and other European countries. Powering the TV will be Google's Android TV software, meaning those eager to plunk down what we assume will be be an unsettling amount of cash for the device will have access to Netflix, Hulu, and all the other TV-centric offerings of the Google Play Store.
Hands-on with Marshall's rock'n'roll Android smartphone
Earlier this year, Marshall surprised the tech community by unveiling the London smartphone — a conventional Android device with quite unconventional styling. At the time, Marshall was lauded for doing something different in the rather staid smartphone world (or rather, the Swedish firm Zound Industries was praised for not messing up the brand they'd licensed), but how does the London stand up to closer scrutiny?Read Article >
Sep 3, 2015
Samsung's Gear S2 is its best-looking smartwatch yet
Samsung and smartwatches have had a tenuous relationship. It's not for lack of trying — Samsung released six different smartwatches before Apple even launched one — it's just that none of them have been particularly good. Chunky designs, slow performance, and limited software have all been things that have plagued Samsung's smartwatch efforts since they began in 2013. That all may be changing, however, as the recently announced Gear S2 is the most promising smartwatch I've seen from Samsung.Read Article >
Read next: The Samsung Gear S2 review.
Sep 3, 2015
Huawei is the new Samsung
Samsung's meteoric rise as a smartphone maker began with the Galaxy S, a 2010 Android handset with some high specs and more than a passing resemblance to the iPhone. That formula of pushing the limits of specs and the boundaries of Apple's intellectual property is now being reprised by Huawei. But the Chinese giant, better known for its telecom equipment, isn't limiting itself to Apple — it's taking inspiration and borrowing ideas from every device maker around, while still finding ways to distinguish itself with unique specs in an already oversaturated Android phone market.Read Article >
The Asus GX700 is the water-cooled laptop of your nightmarish dreamsRead Article >
Gaming is a big theme of IFA 2015. Acer's unleashing a whole new line of Predators, and Lenovo is taking on the challenge with a new range of gaming PCs of its own. But as aggressive and hungry for hype as both have been, neither is going quite as far as Asus, which today introduced the world's first water-cooled laptop.
Sony's Xperia Z5 family: hands-on video
So far at IFA 2015 we've seen a water-cooled laptop, an arachnid router, and an orange-weighing smartphone. In among all this extravagance, however, there's one company that's still retaining a bit of sobriety and approaching IFA in a professional manner. Yes, I speak of Sony. The Japanese company's presentation left me feeling a bit flat, probably because its phones all leaked well in advance of the show, but getting them in my hands has revitalized my spirits and rekindled my anticipation. These new Xperia Z5 phones are nice. The subtle matte finish on the back, the elegant colors, the lightning-fast fingerprint sensor. Everything about this design evokes a sense of maturity and thoughtfulness.Read Article >
Okay, so the chromed-out Xperia Z5 Premium doesn't quite fit in the same mold of understated classiness, but hey, Sony needs to sell phones and all of its other ideas aren't working out, so why not put a mirror on the back? I'm also unconvinced that any smartphone will ever need a full 4K display resolution — which is the Z5 Premium's highlight spec — but there's no denying that the screens on all three of these phones look great. Sony's got a color-matched theme for every hue in the Z5 series, which just helps highlight the displays' good contrast.
Sep 2, 2015
Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium has an absurd 4K displayRead Article >
Sony has unveiled its new lineup of Xperia smartphones, and this year's headline model is the Xperia Z5 Premium. Available in chrome, black, and gold, the Z5 Premium looks undeniably luxurious, and the company claims its 5.5-inch 4K display is a first for a smartphone. However, with internal specs that are identical to the smaller, more reserved Xperia Z5 (and not far off the "pocket friendly" Z5 Compact), it's not clear if the Premium has more to show beyond a rich, glossy finish.
Sep 2, 2015
Huawei brings Force Touch to its phones before Apple
Huawei today announced the Mate S, a new flagship phone that includes a familiar sounding feature: Force Touch. That's also the name of Apple's pressure-based touchscreen technology, which is featured on the Apple Watch and will reportedly be included on the new iPhone.Read Article >
The Android-based smartphone was unveiled today at IFA in Berlin. It features a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, with a full metal shell and curved back, but most notable are its user interaction components. The Mate S includes an upgraded fingerprint scanner and "Knuckle Sense" technology, first introduced in the P8, which lets users switch between apps using their knuckles.
This router will be the last thing you see before the internet consumes you
If you were wondering how Asus would respond to the challenge of Google's OnHub wireless router, wonder no longer. Forged in an off-world colony and teleported here by its own sheer power of will, the artfully titled RT-AC5300 is a wireless portal like no other. It takes the spaceship looks of D-Link's Ultra router and ratchets them up to 11.Read Article >
Asus announces completely ridiculous water-cooled gaming laptop
Behold the behemoth! Asus' all-new flagship gaming laptop is less of a notebook and more of an oddly-rearranged desktop PC. The 17-inch Asus GX700, making its debut here at IFA in Berlin, is among the first laptops to feature Intel's overclocking-ready K series Skylake CPUs, and it comes with a full water cooling system to help keep it chilly.Read Article >
Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics and a 4K resolution are the only other details that Asus is disclosing right now. The Taiwanese company is just teasing the existence of the GX700 — which can, of course, function as a pretty powerful gaming laptop without the water cooling too — and promising to deliver the full specs and pricing information as we get closer to this outlandish machine's release. Asus tells us it will be on sale at some point before the end of this year, so stay tuned for more — this is a story worth following whether you're in the market for a water-cooled laptop or not.
Toshiba’s Radius 12 has everything you want from a Windows 10 laptop
Toshiba announced its new Satellite Radius 12 at IFA this morning. It combines a 12.5-inch 4K display with a camera that supports Windows Hello facial recognition, and USB Type-C. I got a chance to get a closer look at the Satellite Radius 12, and while it’s not the best Windows laptop I’ve ever used it’s certainly exciting. It feels like a good example of the types of convertibles we’re going to start seeing soon, with 4K displays, USB Type-C, and support for logging into Windows 10 with your face.Read Article >
Intel's Skylake is beautiful
There are many superlatives you'll hear this week about Intel's new sixth-generation Core (codename Skylake) processors. They are fast and efficient, they can do a whole heap of other things beyond pure computation, and they're enabling a new generation of thinner and longer-lasting mobile PCs. The one thing you probably won't hear is how these new chips look — which is fair enough since you're supposed to use them, not look at them.Read Article >
Still, there's an undeniable techno beauty to these chips, which I thought I'd capture for posterity and for kicks out here at IFA in Berlin. Below you'll find a collection of photos of a real wafer of 14nm Skylake processors, exactly like the ones that will be going into millions of new devices over the coming weeks and months. Well, maybe not exactly. This wafer didn't adhere to Intel's perfectionist standards for cleanliness, but it sure was pretty!
Lenovo has created a Microsoft Surface clone
Lenovo calls its new Ideapad Miix 700 "recognizably different" with a "progressive design," but it's hard to see it as anything but a Microsoft Surface clone. Designed with Windows 10 in mind, the Miix 700 is a 12-inch tablet with an adjustable kickstand at the rear. That all sounds similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, and if you look at the Miix 700 then you'll see the similarities aren't minor.Read Article >
Windows 10 and Skylake processors were ‘designed together’
Intel makes a habit of announcing its new processor generations in gradual steps. A month ago, it introduced the first members of its sixth-gen Core family — better known by the codename Skylake — in the form of the overclocking-ready Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, a pair of desktop chips primarily aimed at gamers. Today at IFA, the American chipmaker is unfurling the full breadth of its Skylake range, which will span the broadest spectrum of devices in the company’s history. Intel will have Skylake processors going from a 4.5W TDP designed for ultra-thin, fanless machines all the way up to 91W for workstation and enthusiast gaming purposes.Read Article >
Kirk Skaugen, the general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group and the person charged with expanding the company’s mobile business, will be presenting the news in a keynote address on Wednesday that will kick off a busy day of IFA 2015 press conferences. OEM partners like Acer, Asus, and Lenovo will then be following up with their announcements of new machines using the new processors, putting real hardware meat around the beating heart of Intel’s latest. Ahead of the show, Skaugen sat down for an interview with The Verge to discuss Intel’s strategy with its new family of chips and the close collaboration with Microsoft that leads him to believe that there’s never been a better time to buy a new PC.
Aug 31, 2015
IFA 2015 preview: Android Wear takes over BerlinRead Article >
Herzlich Willkommen in Berlin! The first week of September marks a revival in activity among electronics manufacturers, as they vie to position their new products for the back-to-school shopping season and the winter holidays beyond it. And the place where that annual contest begins is the IFA trade show in Berlin. IFA is Europe's biggest exhibition of new consumer electronics, and it's previously served as the launch platform for major new devices like Samsung's Galaxy Note series. But this will be the first year in a long time where Samsung won't be taking over the show with a new Note, leaving room for others to grab the limelight — so what can we expect to be the highlights of IFA 2015?