IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

The headline wearables expected on show at the Berlin tech expo
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There's something in the air. Friends are asking us for smartphone and smartwatch and gadget recommendations about 25% more than usual. To them, and to you, we say this: wait.

Because September is gadget launching season. Not only are we fully expecting an Apple Watch 2 at a special San Francisco event but there's also IFA, Berlin's finest tech show, to contend with. It opens to the press on Wednesday 31 August and to the public on Friday 2 September. Only after IFA and Apple's possible announcements will we allow you to start buying again.

There will be shiny, new gadgets, devices and wearables to choose from plus all the old stuff should go down in price to satisfy bargain hunters. Win win. Wait.

Wednesday 31 August


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

First up on our agenda is Acer. Now, we haven't been too enamoured with Acer's fitness wearables and smartwatch accessories so far but we could see it branch beyond me-too features with new wearable devices at IFA 2016.

More exciting still is its partnership with Starbreeze on an Oculus spec-beating headset called StarVR. We're hoping Acer is bringing it to IFA to showcase so we can go eyes and heads on with this virtual reality wildcard.

Update: StarVR headset first impressions from IFA


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

At Asus, most of our attention will be on the already leaked ZenWatch 3, rumoured to be a round faced, Android Wear watch that will have three physical buttons on the side as controls. Plus there will be Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi onboard.

We're not expecting any fitness trackers or smart home launches from Asus, though we could see some Google Daydream related announcements in the shape of a mobile VR headset or simply a Daydream-ready smartphone.

And if that isn't enough, last November Asus said it was building an AR headset so that could pop up as a tease at IFA. The latest is that it's holding it back to 2017 as at the request of a 'very big player'.

Update: Asus ZenWatch 3 officially unveiled with circular design


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

The Gear S3, the follow up to one of current fave smartwatches, is pretty much a dead cert. According to the leaks, we'll actually be treated to three variants of the new Tizen smartwatch with Classic, Frontier and Explorer versions to choose from. And the press conference invites all but make the smartwatch launch official. I mean, there's clock hands so...

What else to expect from Samsung? Well, the new Gear VR is about to drop, alongside the just announced Note 7, so we're sure this will get a mention. And after Samsung launched the SmartThings hub at last year's IFA, we'd expect more smart home plans to build this ecosystem into something useful and user friendly.

Less likely is Daydream VR hardware or any other fitness launches to crowd out the Gear Fit 2. Some of the recent C-Lab spin-offs like IOFIT or Welt may get a look-in though when showing off how future-gazing Samsung is.

When is it? The second conference (smart home etc) starts at 11am Berlin time (10am BST, 2am PST) on Thursday 1st September.

Update: Samsung Gear S3 classic and Frontier hands on reviews from IFA

Thursday 1 September


Less is known about what TomTom is up to but we could see a Spark successor grace the demo halls of the Messe Berlin. Golf wearables could get a look-in too. TomTom has launched this teaser video as well. which doesn't tell us a whole lot either.

When is it? TomTom is holding a press event at 8.30am on 1 September. In the UK, that's 7.30am and for West Coast readers, that's 11.30pm on Wednesday night.


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

Apart from the Mate 9 smartphone, there aren't too many rumours swirling around the web of what Huawei is going to launch at IFA. It's good to be kept in the dark by at least one company but if pressed, we'd have to go with - a Huawei Watch 2 and its mobile VR headset? Your guess is as good as ours.

We might also get a peek at its new Disney Kids smartwatch though it's not confirmed as a release outside China yet.

When is it? Huawei clashes with Samsung as it starts at 11.30am Berlin time which is 10.30am BST and 2.30am PST. Still, we'll have plenty of Wareable boots on the ground over in Berlin so we'll be at Huawei to cover any new connected self launches live.


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

After the debacle also known as the 360 VR, LG has been pretty quiet on the wearable tech front. We might see some new 'Friends' accessories for the G5 as well as more of a focus on smart home, AV and smartphones like the rumoured V20. As ever, LG is on the list of Daydream partners so we'll either have lots of new hardware or none at IFA.

When is it? LG is holding Open House press tours of its IFA stand on Thursday and we'll be going along in the morning.


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

Another tricky one to predict but well worth keeping an eye on for wearables, VR and smart home. As well as the usual smartphone and Blu-ray players and TVs, we could (finally) see a SmartWatch 3 successor. Or Sony could stick to the MWC tactic and show off a bunch of futuristic concepts instead.

Questions we want answers to include: where is the Sony Xperia Ear hearable that was supposed to launch this summer? What has become of the Sony Xperia N concept we saw at SXSW? And can we have another go on the PlayStation VR please?

When is it? Sony's conference is straight after Samsung's at 1pm Messe time - doing our sums that works out as 12 noon BST and a nice, bright and early 4am PST.

Friday 2 September


IFA 2016: What to expect in wearable tech

Friday at IFA this year will be all about Fitbit and the two new devices our tipster confirmed are launching at this year's tech expo. We're expecting these two new fitness wearables to be a Flex 2 and a Charge 2 but nothing's confirmed yet and all will be revealed at Fitbit's evening event in Berlin - Wareable will be there live.

And the question remains - can Fitbit continue its bestselling run with the new IFA fitness trackers? Our money says yes.

When is it? Fitbit's conference, given by CEO James Park, begins at 6.30pm on Friday 2 September which is 5.30pm BST and 9.30am PST. So look out for first impressions of the new Fitbits ASAP after the conference ends.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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