Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8. The newest phones from LG and Huawei. And home furnishings?
It’s all part of IFA, one of Europe’s largest trade fairs, which combines everything from consumer electronics and home appliances to furniture for your TV and audio setups.
We’re attending the show as we mark our entrance into the European market and in the midst of some major mobile tech announcements.
Samsung, whose products have the biggest market share in Europe, unveiled the Galaxy Note 8 last week. Huawei, the fastest growing smartphone company in Europe, LG and Moto are expected to make major product announcements ahead of IFA and there is speculation that Sony might have a surprise announcement as well. All this is happing just before Apple is getting ready to reveal new iPhones in September.
We can read the tea leaves at IFA for what that Apple announcement might look like, but for IFA the focus is clearly on Android devices as well as larger industry trends that will shape the tech year ahead. Here’s a rundown of what we’ll be looking for.
The state of fast wireless charging
There are three standard wireless charging technologies. One of them, Qi, has had a fast wireless charging solution for about a year. But so far, only Samsung has come out with a phone that uses fast wireless charging, and it uses its own proprietary solution. We’re interested to see if any other device makers will adopt this technology, and whether they’ll use existing standards, or if the convenience of wireless charging will be mired in slow speeds for a while longer.
Everything is different-ish in Europe
There are a lot of differences between the U.S. and Europe when it comes to smartphones. In the U.S., phone carriers offered “free” phones with new contracts, spurring iPhone adoption. That wasn’t the case in Europe. As a result, consumers flocked to a wider selection of phones from many different manufacturers. Samsung and Apple are the number one and two for smartphone sales in Europe, but Huawei and Oppo are close behind the market leaders. Brands like Moto, Nokia, LG and Sony still have loyal followings. This makes Android the focus for IFA.
Though the latest flagship Samsung phones are compatible with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, there haven’t been a lot of after-market companies offering compatible chargers in Europe until recently, unlike in the U.S. We expect to see more consumer education about this charging technology at IFA.
On another note, Europeans tend to use cars less and rely on public transit and bicycles more often. This leads to different use cases for charging products like handlebar phone mounts. It will be interesting see if there are any other big differences between the markets.
As the last big trade show before the likely announcement of a new iPhone, IFA sits at an interesting time on the smartphone calendar. There’s a lot to look forward to, and Europe’s largest tech show will give us more clues as to what the future holds.