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IFA 2018: the hottest launches from this year's show

T3 logo T3 8/30/2018 David Nield,Spencer Hart

Courtesy of T3: T3 image© Courtesy of T3 T3 image Come with us, back to Berlin again, for the annual IFA 2018 expo – that's Internationale Funkausstellung, or the International Radio Show to you, and it's an event where most of the biggest names in technology gather to show off their latest wares to the public.

We always see major products launched at IFA and it looks like this is going to be another year absolutely packed with announcements. T3 is already on the ground at IFA as the press conferences kicked off on Wed 29 August. 

The show starts proper on 31 August, and we'll be updating this page with all the IFA news that matters – we've already caught a glimpse of an 8K TV advert outside the venue, so we're expecting good things for the living room this year.

To get you in the mood for IFA 2018, we've collected all the pre-show news and rumours for you and we'll add the at-show news as it breaks.

IFA 2018: PHILIPS AND BOWERS & WILKINS PARTNER FOR THE LAUNCH OF THE OLED+ 903 TV

Philips TV and Bowers & Wilkins have just announced the 'OLED+ 903' television, which hopes to establish a new reference point for both TV picture and sound quality.

The OLED+ 903 is one of Philips’ first sets to offer HDR+ performance, however, as most content is still SDR, Philips has developed 'Perfect Natural Reality', which continually calculates how to increase source quality, brightness, sharpness and contrast performance to give SDR content the same quality and impact as HDR content.

The OLED+ 903 builds upon the already excellent sound system of the OLED 803 by using Bowers & Wilkins audio engineering expertise to turn television sound up to 11.

The sound system features B&W drivers throughout, mounted in larger, more rigid and dedicated enclosures. Distortion has been reduced while dialogue clarity, and the scale and separation of the sound stage, have both been increased.

Bass performance has been significantly increased, making the OLED+ 903 great for music playback as well.

The OLED+ 903 will launch in October – in both 55” and 65” versions – and will reset the TV performance landscape by offering a combination of picture and sound quality previously unavailable in the market.

IFA 2018: Sonos Amp gets updated with a redesign and more connection options

a dirty old room© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

Sonos revealed that it’s working on an update to the Sonos Amp, to make a more modern and flexible way to bring your existing traditional speakers into the Sonos multi-room system. 

You can use it to connect to traditional speakers (and with twice the power of the previous Sonos Amp, it can power some serious hi-fi), and it has an HDMI-ARC port for bringing your TV into the mix. The Amp won’t be out until February 2019, though.

Sonos also announced a partnership with architectural speaker company Sonance to bring out a line of Sonos-connected in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor speakers, for invisible home installs. They’ll work with Sonos multi-room smarts, as well as the company’s TruePlay tuning, to make sure it all sounds perfect once it’s stuck in your brickwork. 

Sonos is also going to let developers tie into its systems more, especially when it comes to smart home, so you can do things like have your smart doorbell play its tone through your Sonos speakers.

IFA 2018: The Beosound Edge is part sculpture, part wireless speaker

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

Created in collaboration with globally acclaimed designer Michael Anastassiades, Beosound Edge is a wireless speaker which wouldn't look out of place in a sculpture gallery.

The unique circular shape of Beosound Edge allows for two placement options. On the floor, amplifying and blending in with the colours of the furniture standing next to it, or placed on the wall as a true gravity-defying statement that divides spaces in the home. 

The inspiration for the design is derived from the classic British pound coin, and similar to the movement of a coin rolling, users can slowly rock the speaker back and forth to increase and decrease volume.

It's certainly a stunning object, and we'll be getting ears on with it soon to let you know how it sounds.

IFA 2018: Casio's new smartwatch adds offline maps and 3-day battery life with GPS

a close up of a watch© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

Casio has announced its third generation of Pro Trek smartwatches at IFA this year, bringing several big updates with it. The WSD-F30 enables the use of offline maps and GPS log recording for up to three consecutive days.

 The new 'Extend Mode' enables the use of offline colour maps and GPS for up to three days on just a single charge, showing, time and measurement data continuously on a monochrome display. A colour man can be displayed at the push of a button, and Extended Mode can save energy by switching to stand-by mode when not in use.

This will be an important update for outdoor enthusiasts, who would have previously worried about the Pro Trek's battery life.

The third gen smartwatch also comes with a new and improved dual-layer display, and smaller cade for enhanced wearability.

IFA 2018: Google Home Max goes on sale in the UK

Courtesy of T3: T3 image© Courtesy of T3 T3 image

Starting today, UK buyers can pick up the Google Home Max at the Google Store and at John Lewis for £399

Google Max is what Google calls its "best-sounding, most impactful Google Home yet", offering dual 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers, for deep bass that will make your dubstep go wub wub wub wub. Additionally, the Max is seriously loud – 20 times more powerful than the original Google Home, in fact.

The Max is also Google's first speaker with Smart Sound, which uses AI to adapt its sound for where you place it in a room, so if you decide to move your speaker a few feet, it will tune itself within seconds.

IFA 2018: Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 is more life-proof, better looking, better sounding, cheaper…

Courtesy of T3: T3 image© Courtesy of T3 T3 image

The Megaboom 3 improves on the winning formula of its waterproof, cylindrical predecessor, and is an excellent speaker. It's actually only the second Megaboom, but as Ultimate Ears is also putting out a new Boom (a smaller sibling to this) and it its the third Boom speaker, it's taken the decision to rationalise the naming of its products by calling them both '3'. 

Yes, that is a little confusing, but we can get through this if we try. It's certainly an evolution of the Megaboom DNA rather than anything radically new, but on the other hand, just about everything has been slightly improved, while the RRP, at £169.99, has gone down compared to the original Megaboom's.

IFA 2018: Riva Concert and Stadium speakers come packing Alexa, Bluetooth AND hi-res audio

Courtesy of T3: T3 image© Courtesy of T3 T3 image

The Riva Stadium (a large-ish speaker) and Riva Concert (more Sonos One sized/priced) are here to try to take a slice of the 'smart speakers with Alexa built-in' pie. 

The brand's first voice-controlled speakers, the Concert and Stadium pack in all the usual Alexa goodness, with voice control of Amazon and Spotify music streaming services. You can also send sound to them via Bluetooth and AirPlay, and they're multi-room capable, as well as giving you the option to use two as a stereo pair (although each speaker individually already outputs stereo). 

High-resolution audio is supported (24-bit/192kHz), as are networked digital audio files via AirPlay or DLNA. There are also USB and 3.5mm inputs.

IFA 2018 predictions: phones

a close up of a computer: Sony Xperia XZ2© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Sony Xperia XZ2

With Samsung scheduled to get its big announcements out of the way early, we're expecting Sony to lead the charge with mobiles at IFA 2018. We might well see the Xperia XZ3 break cover, and indeed Sony has a press event arranged for 30 August, the press day before the show opens. Brace yourself for a 48-megapixel camera and 5G connectivity from the new Sony flagship.

Huawei always has a strong show at IFA too, and may well use the occasion to unveil its Mate 20 Pro phablet phone. Huawei sub-brand Honor has confirmed that it's going to be launching a smartphone at IFA 2018 too – though we don't know too much about it other than it's going to be "crazy fast" and "crazy smart".

Of the other big names, LG is most likely to have something new to show off in terms of phones, with the launch of the LG V40 ThinQ on the cards. That's the slightly superior version of the LG V35 ThinQ, and would be the third flagship phone launch from LG during the course of 2018.

IFA 2018 predictions: televisions

a flat screen television: Samsung The Wall TV© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Samsung The Wall TV

The IFA expo is always packed to the rafters with new television sets, and 2018 should be no different – the likes of Philips, Samsung, LG and Sony are all going to be present at this year's event, and are all likely to be showing off their latest sets and perhaps launching a few new models at the same time. There's also talk that Toshiba is planning to unveil new televisions at IFA 2018.

As for specifics, they're a little harder to pin down. Sony has already announced its new Master Series TVs, so while these will undoubtedly be on show at IFA 2018, they won't be one of the big product launches. We could well see more MicroLED TVs from Samsung this year, like the Wall – sets with OLED-like contrast and colour reproduction without actually being OLED.

Philips is strongly rumoured to be bringing some new ultra-thin monitors to IFA 2018, so look out for those alongside whatever TV upgrades the company decides to show off. We might not see a massive amount of new hardware, even if the best sets in the world today are all on show, but we're hoping for a few surprises.

IFA 2018 predictions: IFA 2018 wearables

a close up of a hand holding a watch: Samsung smartwatch© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Samsung smartwatch

Traditionally, IFA 2018 is a good show for fans of wearables, and we've heard a few rumours about new devices launching at the event this year. Samsung may well reveal its new Galaxy Watch smartwatch, running either Tizen or Wear OS – unless it decides to unveil the gadget alongside the Galaxy Note 9 on the 9th of August.

LG has been quiet on the wearables front recently, but with rumours of a Pixel-branded smartwatch from Google gathering pace, it's possible that the company has a new Wear OS smartwatch in the pipeline – it would go head-to-head against whatever Google has in store and Samsung is planning to show off.

Fitbit is of course one of the biggest names in wearables and we think we might well see something new from the company at IFA 2018 – it perhaps won't end up launching a major product like the Fitbit Versa but updates to one or more of its less expensive trackers could well be on the cards. Watch this space.

IFA 2018 predictions: computers

an open laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Acer computer© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. Acer computer

IFA is often the place where we get our first look at new gaming PCs, laptops, 2-in-1s and more from the major names in computing, with the likes of Acer and Asus front and centre. We're expecting more of the same this year, so look out for faster, thinner devices and more creative uses of the 2-in-1 form factor for Windows computers. Apple, of course, prefers to hold its own press events.

Lenovo is another manufacturer tipped to have something new to show off at IFA 2018 as far as computers go – with Dell enjoying a lot of success with the Dell XPS 15 and Dell XPS 13 ranges, it's possible that Lenovo might use IFA 2018 to fight back. Razer might also have a new gaming laptop in the works, according to sources, ready for IFA 2018.

In terms of specific rumours of specific hardware, we don't have much to share – but look out for plenty of new computers coming out of the IFA 2018 event. A handful of Chromebooks could make a bow alongside Windows machines, and for the latter, expect Windows Mixed Reality to get a few mentions, too.

IFA 2018 predictions: other tech

HTC Vive Pro© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. HTC Vive Pro

Generally speaking, IFA doesn't have as many weird and wonderful gizmos on show as events like CES (the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas) or MWC (Mobile World Congress in Barcelona). That being said, there are usually a handful of unexpected gadgets that are worth checking out, from robots to smart home devices.

Panasonic and smart home experts Tado are two of the other big names in tech that have press events booked for IFA 2018 – though at the moment no one seems to know what they've got planned. Basically, anyone who isn't Google or Apple might have something new to unveil in Berlin.

Given how popular smart speakers are at the moment, we're likely to see a few more of those break cover – though we're not sure how exciting they'll be. he IFA event is also likely to feature plenty of VR and AR gear, even if genuinely new products are thin on the ground. If you're heading to the show, which is open to the public, you should be able to demo kit such as the HTC Vive Pro.


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