IFA 2013 Preview: Galaxy Note 3, Xperia Z1, HTC One Max, Smartwatches, Madness

Who said there’s no more room for innovation in the mobile technology arena? The hell there isn’t! You just wait and see what’s coming at this year’s IFA.

IFA 2013

First held way back in 1924 (!), the Consumer Electronics trade fair will officially debut its newest edition on September 6 and wrap up five days later. Over 200, 000 visitors and exhibitors are to take Berlin, Germany by storm this year and the spotlight should be, as usual, on the big Android kahunas, including Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG.

And boy, do those four have their share of aces up their sleeves, most of which have been making the rumor rounds for weeks or even months. Many surprises are to be expected as well and, while technically we’re still ten days away from the event’s official kick-off, most exhibitors will look to jump the gun and unveil their fall-winter bombs earlier.

How early? Let’s just say we expect the Android world to look very differently come September 4. But enough with the jibber-jabber and let’s get down to the facts. These are the rumored scene-stealers of IFA 2013:


The Koreans are notorious for using IFA’s pre-show dates to hold glamorous “Unpacked” events in Berlin and this year won’t be an exception to the rule. Quite on the contrary, as Sammy is tipped to introduce several new gadgets to the world on September 4.

Samsung Unpacked

The Galaxy Note 3 is the definite number one on the list, but with a familiar plastic design, less than stellar camera and a 5.7-inch display that some consider small (we live in a crazy world, eh?), the Note 3 will have its work cut out for him (her?) in fending off Sony and HTC’s threats.

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, the company’s first smartwatch, is anticipated with much excitement by self-proclaimed visionaries, who seem to think wearable technology is the future. I for one don’t agree, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the Gear, tipped to come with a 2.5-inch touchscreen, dual-core CPU, Bluetooth 4.0 and gesture support.


As far as slates are concerned, a Galaxy Note 10.1 follow-up could be due, even if no tipster or leaker has mentioned anything like that of late, plus a kid-friendly 7-inch Galaxy Tab and maybe even a GTab 10.1 Plus with a Full HD screen and octa-core processor.


If Samsung disappoints, Sony could rise to the occasion and deliver, with the Xperia Z1 (aka Honami) phone and a SmartWatch 2 (that’s right, the Japanese already have an Android-compatible wristwatch, albeit one that no one knows exists).

Sony IFA

The Xperia Z1 is expected to become official on September 4 (Note 3, beware) and Sony has so much trust in this thing that they are putting everything they have into it. Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2 GB of RAM, Full HD Triluminos display, 20 MP camera with G Lens, water protection, you name it, the Z1 will sport it.

Sony Xperia Z1

But wait, there’s more, as we could also be seeing a “Mini” version of the Z1 presented during or before IFA. This little guy will sport a 4 or 4.5-inch display, but other than that it’s expected to be just as groundbreaking as big brother, unlike Samsung’s GS4 Mini or HTC’s One Mini.


It’s not like the Taiwanese to conduct a subtle, almost shy hype-boosting campaign on the eve of a big launch, but sadly for them the One Max looks like it has nothing against Sony’s Xperia Z1. And Samsung is Samsung, so you know people will expect greatness from them.


But I’m here to tell you that the One Max is not to be overlooked, at least if you dig jumbo-sized phones. After all, what could be cooler than an HTC One with the same breathtakingly solid aluminum build, plus a speed boost and screen size upgrade?


Unlike the competition, LG has chosen to showcase the G2 ages before IFA, at the risk of losing the spotlight once the Berlin event will be underway. Then again, the Koreans look like they have one secret (well, not so secret anymore) weapon saved for September too – the G Pad 8.3.


Confirmed already courtesy of a video teaser, the slate is tipped to sport a 1,920 x 1,200 pixels resolution panel, plus pack quad-core Snapdragon 600 heat under the hood. The price tag? Unknown, which is why it’s still hard to say if this will be a Nexus 7 killer or a DOA slate like many others before it.

The others – Asus, Acer, Alcatel, Lenovo, HP, Huawei, ZTE

One swallow does not a summer make and four exhibitors do not a spectacular tech expo make. But fret not, as any of the seven above mentioned names could steal the thunder or at least part of it from the top dogs.

Asus is waiting for the perfect moment to intro the PadFone Mini, MemoFone HD 5 phones and MemoPad HD 8 tablet, while Acer has a Tegra 4-powered slate and a brilliant flagship phone called Liquid S2 in the pipeline.


Alcatel will likely look to uncover the already leaked One Touch Scribe Pro and One Touch Idol Mini, Lenovo is almost certainly working on a sort of K900 rehash with Snapdragon 800 power, HP is hunting for tablet glory with the Slate 8 Pro, Huawei has recently introduced an octa-core processor that could find its way inside smartphones this year and finally ZTE has to build some buzz around the U988S, which is the world’s first Tegra 4 phone, but also an incredibly cheap handheld.

I think we can all agree there are a lot of exciting things on this list and beware, these are only the devices that we know are coming. Who knows what other shockers might be in store.