Consumer electronics vendors are going to Berlin next week with something to prove.
At the IFA trade show, Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility aim to show that their smartwatches can compete with Apple's, Sony needs to demonstrate that it's still a relevant smartphone manufacturer, and LG want to convince customers that it's time to buy a new TV.
Here's what to look out for:
Samsung has already revealed it plans to launch the round Gear S2 in Berlin. The square original was powered by the company's own Tizen operating system, and the new model is likely to use it as well. Videos and images of the Gear S2 hint at a product that's smaller and better-looking than the original model, which was just a bit too large. If Samsung wants to keep the cost down and improve the battery life, removing the integrated 3G connection would also be a step in the right direction.
Last year saw Samsung attack the smartwatch market with a barrage of products. But it seems the company has rethought that strategy since the Gear S2 will be the first model it has launched this year. Spending all its resources on one product that could turn out to be really good, as opposed to a handful of so-so efforts, may be a better approach.
Sales during the second quarter showed Samsung needs to do something different. It sold 600,000 wearables to gain a 3.3 percent market share, according to IDC. That left it far behind Fitbit and Apple, which sold 4.4 million and 3.6 million units, respectively.
Motorola Mobility also needs to reboot its smartwatch strategy. It sold only 150,000 smartwatches during Q2, IDC said. The round, Android Wear-based Moto 360 was one of the most anticipated products when it arrived last year, but it didn't quite deliver. The company hasn't been as forthcoming about its plans for IFA as Samsung has, but is expected to launch at least two new and improved smartwatches with different sized screens.
Samsung has already put its contenders on the field with the recently launched Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 edge+, but it looks like there will still be some noteworthy smartphone introductions at IFA.
Huawei Technologies is expected to launch a successor to the Mate 7. The new model is rumored to be called the Mate S and comes with a 6-inch, 1440 by 2560 pixel screen. It may also have a 21-megapixel camera and up to 64GB of integrated storage (plus whatever is added via the microSD card slot) and 4GB of RAM.
That debut will go up against the anticipated Xperia Z5 from Sony, a smartphone that could turn out to be the company's swan song in this category.
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