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Sometimes it's hard to remember, that not only Microsoft make Windows Phone devices. HTC make one too, so they quickly talked about some universal Windows Phone 8.1 updates. These include UK now having Cortana, creation of folders, and interestingly the creation of a private VPN connection when connecting to wifi, for additional security when connecting to public wifi. They then focused purely on Lumia devices. Firstly, there's a new Denim update which will be rolled out through the range this year which mostly revolved around small improvements to the camera photos and also activating the camera. It also include voice activation for Cortana, so it becomes similar to Google's 'OK Google'. Microsoft want to create 'flagship' devices at a lower price point. With that in mind, they created the Lumia 830 (€330). It has a Snapdragon 400 quadcore processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable to 128GB), 5" 1280x720 display, 10MP Pureview rear camera, 0.9MP front camera. To be blunt, it's not flagship specs, and is firmly planted in the lower end of mid-range of Android handsets. It has to be noted that the audience needed to be prompted to give any applause. They then went on to talk about the Lumia 730 / 735. Whilst the 735 will be available for €219 and come with LTE, the 730 will be a dual sim version without LTE. Otherwise they are the same. Of key interest is the 5MP front camera with a 24mm lens. It gives a wider angle shot, as demonstrated in a rather bizarre attempt to recreate the Ellen selfie. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very fair comparison, and was a bit tedious... Spec wise, it comes with a 4.7" 1280x720 display, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (expandable), Snapdragon 400 processor and a 2200mAh battery. That's not too bad for the price. Microsoft will also include 3 months unlimited Skype subscription and 15GB One Drive for the new Lumias. Not exactly generous.
Doing this in no particular order, other than what comes to my mind first. LG LG look to have an busy show. Many devices have been leaked / previewed already, and I'm sure they'll have a few more surprises lined up too. Starting with phones, we're expecting to see an expansion of the LG G3 brand, with possible Stylus and Prime handsets. The Stylus may not be going head to head with Samsung's Note line, but may be going for the lower priced mid-range customers. The Prime may be an updated and premium version of the G3, although that only launched recently. LG may also be looking to launch the Flex 2, with it's unique curved screen and we feel that an new tablet is due from the company which has taken it's time in launching a new tablet since last year's IFA. LG doesn't make just phones. It's also a big player in home entertainment and we expect to see bigger, screens, more OLED, maybe for bendy screens (why?) and of course use of LG's WebOS interface on it's smart TVs. It's also recently launched into the home wireless audio market and we're expecting to see a preview of LG's second Android Wear watch with it's round face and slightly updated specs. ASUS ASUS have been teasing what appears to be an Android Wear smartwatch to be launched before the show. With ASUS being ASUS, we'd also expect to see a range of laptops, tablets and phones, although little is known as yet. Sony Sony on the other hand have been leaking like a sieve. The biggest product is likely to be the Z3 with upgraded processor, although the rest of the specs look similar to the Z2 which was only launched at MWC in February. There may be other surprises of course, and a Z3 compact is expected to launch at the same time. The Compact range has been well received due it's high specs and no compromise offering compared to other companies' compact offerings. With that in mind, Sony are expected to launch a 8" tablet for the first time too. We also expect to see Smartwatch 3. This is unlikely to be an Android Wear device, as Sony continues to plough it's own furrow. Having strong foundations in the home entertainment market, we also expect to see more televisions and audio systems, as well as a second stab at it's QX lenses for smartphones. Acer They're expected to launch an affordable 10" tablet, and probably some more affordable phones which are unlikely to reach the high street. HTC The company has tended to give IFA a miss, so we're not expecting much from them , but Qualcomm have been leaking teasers of a new 64 bit processor for Android, and it looks remarkably like a HTC device. Then again, we're expecting HTC to make a Nexus tablet to be launched in the next few months.... Motorola Motorola continue to be US-centric despite having recently been bought by Lenovo. Whilst most of the world's tech press will be in Berlin, Motorola will be launching some new phones in Chicago. We're expecting to see new X and G series phones from them, but probably not launching in Europe before next year. Apple Apple won't be in Berlin, but they will have a major impact upon the show. Not only do all the other manufacturers try to anticipate Apple's moves, and market their own solutions, but also Apple will be having their own event towards the end of IFA, in California. The iPhone 6 is expected there, as is the iWatch, and they can be guaranteed to bring IFA to a halt for a couple of hours. Samsung Samsung on the other hand like to dominate these shows. They'll be having two events before IFA even begins. At the first event, we expect to see the Note 4 with a 1440p screen and even more power. We also expect to see more additions to Samsung's Tizen powered Gear line of smartwatches. This time, expect to see a 3G enabled version. Also expect to see Samsung dip it's toes into Virtual Reality headsets. It's also been more than a month since Samsung last launched a tablet, so don't be surprised to see another one. I fancy with a stylus this time. The second event is likely to focus on home entertainment and cameras. Expect, bigger, faster, more connected. Huawei Expect to see an update on it's Ascend Mate line with faster download speeds than are possible around 99% of the world. Microsoft This will be Microsoft's first major show since it completed the purchase of Nokia. We're expecting more Android devices from them (joke!), but more likely will be some windows phone devices. Whilst most of the press if focussing on mid-range 830/730 handsets adopting Snapdragon processors, and higher resolution screens, we've got a feeling that Microsoft are planning on flipping the Lumia 1020's camera to the front in some way, and becoming king of the selfies. Naturally, there'll be so much more at the show and we hope to cover as much as possible of all sorts of stuff, and not just phones. I'll also be writing a blog once again to give you a flavour of what it's like to attend an event like this. Stay tuned!