It's that time of year again - the IFA technology conference is upon us. Like everything this year, the 2020 edition of the IFA in Berlin will be nothing like what has come before. Here is what you can - and can't - expect to see at the show this year.
The IFA has always been one of the highlights of the NextPit event calendar. Not only does it take place in the city in which we are based, but Europe's biggest tech conference has traditionally been a place for manufacturers in the businesses of smartphones, smart home, mobility, and wearable tech to show off their latest products and technological innovations.
The 2020 edition of the IFA, however, will be a whole different kettle of fish given the turbulent year we've had so far with Covid-19, travel restrictions, and lockdowns. However, the show must go on.
When will the IFA 2020 take place?
The IFA 2020 will take place between September 3 and September 5 at the Messe Berlin. However, this is not your normal IFA show, which is usually attended by both press and the public.
Based on the current safety regulations, the organizers have decided to go with physical live events open to a reduced number of press members, alongside a virtual extension of the show. Almost all of the show will take place on stage, rather than the halls being filled with booths where manufacturers can showcase their products.
Virtual exhibition area
The IFA Xtended Space is an exhibition area where global brands unveil their latest products and innovations in individually designed virtual presentations. Products are presented in 3D. Apparently, Xtended Space will be a place for meeting interesting contacts, and for everyone participating in the virtual IFA world to gather.
#IFA20 Special Edition: World premiere of #XtendedIFA:— IFA Berlin (@IFA_Berlin) September 1, 2020
The IFA Xtended Space allows everyone around the globe to experience the latest trends in the consumer electronics, home appliance industry and beyond. Free of charge!
Which brands are still going to turn up?
We're not going to try to sugarcoat this, a lot of those who would normally attend IFA 2020 have swerved this one like a pothole in the road. However, there are a few confirmed press conferences that we know are still happening.
Honor and Huawei
Like like at the canceled MWC, Honor and parent company Huawei are still making an effort to put on a show at the IFA 2020. Honor is bringing with is a new line of MagicBook laptops with AMD Ryzen 400 Series processors, two new tablets in the shape of the Honor Pad 6 and Pad X6, and the brand's very first outdoor smartwatch.
Huawei has been a little more cagey about pre-announcing what it is bringing to the IFA 2020. For the past two editions, the Chinese giant has launched its latest Kirin processor that will equip its fall flagship phones. There could be some fuss made about a follow-up to the Kirin 990 5G SoC on stage, but with everything that Huawei is currently going through at the minute, we wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't happen.
We know that Walter Ji, President of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group (CBG), will set out the company’s vision and commitment for Europe beyond 2020 at the show, so expect to see the Huawei AppGallery take center stage in Berlin as the company further developed its departure from Google apps and services.
The Huawei Conference takes place on day one: Thursday, September 3rd, at 14:15 pm local time. Honor will take to the stage the following day on: Friday, September 4th, at 11:25 am.
It has already been confirmed that Qualcomm president Christiano Amon will be taking to stage at the IFA opening on Thursday morning with a recorded opening keynote. Qualcomm typically spreads its message across multiple product sectors at IFA so expect to see a wide range of silicon-based solutions on show here.
With 5G becoming ever-more present, Qualcomm is pushing 5G Snapdragon chipsets for laptops and notebooks, and we expect to hear more about this at the 8cx Compute Platform at the show. Audio is another area where Qualcomm could expand its technology to more OEMs, perhaps with an updated aptX HD audio codec or more features and future brand partners for the Qualcomm QCC514x we saw announced in March.
The Qualcomm opening keynote will take place Thursday, September 3rd, at 10:00 am local time.
Technically, LG's IFA 2020 has already started. The South Koreans are doing things a little differently to everyone else this year, and throughout the month of September, LG’s first-ever virtual exhibition is available to view.
The experience is complete with real-life scenarios and demonstrations of how the company is making home life more relaxing, efficient, and rewarding. It features a realistic rendering of Hall 18 of Messe Berlin (down to the local time and local weather), and a curated tour led by a helpful virtual guide.
Among the highlights of LG tech for IFA 2020 is the digital exhibit of its OLED New Wave, an installation featuring an array of flexible screens that delivers a demonstration of LG OLED’s picture quality and ability to assume unique form factors. We originally saw this at CES in Las Vegas back at the start of the year.
LG will also take to the stage on Thursday, September 3rd, at 11:15 am.
Finally, Realme will be joining the IFA this year. I was a little surprised to see the fast-growing brand on the list of attendees but the manufacturer that has taken India by storm appears to be fully committed to growing in Europe. In terms of products, there's a lot of word about a new 7 series of smartphones. Given the rate at which Realme releases smartphones, expect to see at least one or two new additions to its expanding lineup at the IFA 2020 in Berlin.
The Realme in-person press conference will take place on Friday, September 4th, at 12:25 pm.
Is that it!?
Don't to put a damper on things, but almost. Most of the big names we usually see at IFA are passing on this one in favor of their own online showcases and live streams. You can't really blame them, either. Flying staff over to Germany in the middle of a global pandemic is just not worth it to a lot of these companies, especially when they can hold their own virtual press conferences. Samsung is skipping the show completely this year, and two of the biggest names in audio, Sony and Sennheiser, have already announced their new products ahead of the show.
There is, however, always room for surprises and you never know what you'll discover at the IFA in Berlin. As we are based in Berlin and do not have to cross any borders or travel significant distances to get to the show, we'll be at the IFA to bring you all the latest news and product launches.