IFA 2020: All the biggest announcements from the Berlin tech show
The Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin, translated as “International Radio Exhibition Berlin” but mostly known as IFA, starts traditionally at the beginning of September, as one of the biggest consumer electronics trade shows in the world.
That said, in 2020, in-person events aren’t too popular. IFA 2020 still comprised a much smaller in-person event, but with extensive virtual access too. The event launched the IFA 2020 Xtended Space for streaming, and hosted an interactive lobby, too.
That’s because despite everything going on, the holiday season for tech remains as crucial as ever. Major brands still used IFA 2020, and the weeks surrounding IFA, as a launching pad for smartphones, but also for tablets, laptops, headphones and audio products, and many other products.
The highlights of IFA 2020 included new devices and innovations from Qualcomm, LG, Honor, TCL, and Realme, while Samsung went early with a range of announcements ahead of time that were bundled into the IFA mix, while brands like Nvidia and Intel launched new products during the week without attending the main show. More on what specifically came out of IFA 2020 below.
Don’t miss the Best of IFA 2020 Awards, handed out for all the best tech from the week of IFA, including smartphones, wearables, audio, TVs, smart home, gaming, health tech, and more.
And catch our best of coverage across the major device platforms:
IFA 2020: Dates and important info
IFA 2020 formally started on September 3, 2020, and ended on September 5, making it a shortened version of the usual week-long tech extravaganza. The event, as usual, happened at the Messe Berlin convention center in Berlin, Germany. The show floor was at about 10-15 percent of normal capacity.
IFA 2020 started on September 3 through to September 5.
Although IFA is typically open to the public, this year it was a closed event to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. IFA announced a virtual IFA 2020 Xtended Space event for the public to join in press conferences and exhibit tours remotely. Many presentations were pre-recorded, and virtual streaming mostly went off without significant problems. Brands also hosted their own streams of major press events, too.
Qualcomm at IFA 2020
Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon made the opening keynote speech at IFA 2020 on the first day, Thursday, September 3 at 9:45AM CET (3:45AM ET), with a talk touching on the company’s latest developments in 5G, AI, and hardware.
The major new details:
- The first 5G Snapdragon 400 series processor, bringing 5G to ultra-low-cost phones for the first time.
- The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, the company’s updated 8cx architecture for laptops. Qualcomm is saying there are bigger performance wins over Intel’s 15W and 7W TDP Core i5 chips in certain benchmarks. The Acer Spin 7 notebook is one new laptop already announced that utilizes the new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2.
- Finally, Qualcomm announced Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) for wireless earbuds. It’ll adjust to changes in earbud fit, a feature available on its QCC514x Bluetooth audio chip, so expect products in 2021 with this new chipset.
Catch Qualcomm’s presentation on YouTube here.
Huawei at IFA 2020
Huawei’s Walter Ji, President of Consumer Business Huawei, in a pre-recorded presentation, took to IFA 2020 to emphasize Huawei’s commitment to its European customers.
Ji noted retail data such as 33 million users with Huawei devices, along with significantly more downloads and streaming from Huawei customers in recent months.
Ji also noted Huawei is the fifth biggest investor in R&D worldwide, with $82 billion invested into research efforts.
You can rewatch Huawei’s press conference from Thursday, September 3 at 2PM CET (8AM ET), on YouTube here.
Our related Huawei coverage:
- Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro review
- Huawei Watch Fit review
- Huawei Matebook 14 review
- Huawei FreeBuds Pro review
- Huawei FreeLace review
TCL at IFA 2020
TCL took to IFA 2020 to launch new affordable products, announcing the 10 Tab MAX and 10 Tab MID tablets, two new affordable Android tablets.
- 10 Tab MAX will be priced at €299 (cellular) and €249 (Wi-Fi). The 10 Tab MAX features a 10.36-inch display, octa-core processor (TCL’s not clarifying but, based on the GPU and core speeds, we suspect it’s the MediaTek Helio P60), 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, an 8,000mAh battery, and 18W charging. It also supports a stylus.
- The 10 Tab MID is a smaller 8-inch FHD display, running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, a 5,500mAh battery, and priced at a lower €229.
- Both are available in Q4 2020, and TCL noted both use its ‘NXT Paper technology’ for displays to reduce eye strain, an intriguing new development.
TCL also announced the Move S200 true wireless earbuds, taking the AirPod-style route, with IP54 water resistance and up to 23 hours of battery life, for €99.
The last product TCL announced was the Move Time Family Watch smartwatch, with a 1.41-inch AMOLED display, built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2500 platform. It runs on TCL’s own software build and is coming to both Europe and North America, with European pricing at €229.
LG at IFA 2020
LG was in attendance at IFA 2020 again, with P. Park, CTO and executive vice president of LG Electronics, holding a press conference also uploaded to YouTube here, on a ‘Life’s Good From Home’ theme.
LG showed off its battery-powered air-purifying face mask, called the LG PuriCare Air Purifier. LG’s CLOi line of robots was touched on, plus a smart mirror called the LG ThinQ Home Concierge, demonstrated working at the LG ThinQ Home smart home, a real house that LG has built south of Seoul to demonstrate its products and platform.
LG also added a LG virtual showroom experience for people to walk through a virtual show exhibition. It includes LG’s TVs including 8K and a room with a roof made of screens, LG Tone earbuds, and the LG PuriCare Air Purifier.
Check out our related LG coverage here:
Samsung at IFA 2020
Samsung usually holds court at IFA with a major satellite event, plus a huge showcase of its products on the IFA floors. At IFA 2020, though, Samsung went fully virtual with a pre-IFA event it called “Life Unstoppable”.
In addition, Samsung quietly announced:
- The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex with 5G on Intel’s latest 11th gen CPUs
- The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G, the cheapest phone yet with 5G from the Korean brand
- New Galaxy Fit 2 wearable
- Odyssey G55 gaming monitor
- Wireless Charging Trio for charging up to three devices at once
- And on the TV and appliances front, Samsung revealed The Premiere 4K laser projector, which is HDR10+ certified and beams giant 130-inch images. Samsung also announced the new WW9800T washing machine and DV8000T tumble dryer which use AI to learn your most commonly used washing modes
Honor at IFA 2020
Honor hosted its global press conference at IFA, with a set of announcements on the theme of “Expand Your Smart Life.” New products announced included smart wearables, personal computers, and tablets, and you can re-watch the live stream on YouTube.
- Honor released a new MagicBook Pro, plus refreshed MagicBook 14 and MagicBook 15 laptops using AMD Ryzen 4000 chips.
- The big one is the MagicBook Pro, a not-so-subtle challenger to the MacBook Pro with a 16.1-inch, color-accurate 1080p display in a chassis with a footprint similar to a 15.6-inch system. It’s using the mid-range, six-core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H chip.
- The top of the line MagicBook Pro starts at €899.99/£849.99 (~$1,064), available in Germany, the UK and France.
- More on the laptops and full specs here.
- Honor also launched two globally available tablets, the 9.7-inch Honor Pad 6 and 10.1-inch Honor Pad X6, both running Android.
- Both tablets support the company’s Magic Pencil, pack stereo speakers, and offer dedicated eBook modes for avid readers. They’re easy to carry at as little as 7.6mm thickness and 1-pound weight.
- No pricing/availability dates yet.
- The Honor Watch GS Pro was launched, a rugged smartwatch built for outdoor enthusiasts with 25-day battery life in normal use. It’s particularly good for hikers with a “route back” option that will help you retrace your route without a phone
- The Honor Watch ES, meanwhile, is a “fitness fashion” wearable meant more for everyday exercise.
- Available in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The Watch GS Pro is priced at €249.99/£249.99 (~$296), while the Watch ES is more affordable at €99.99/£99.99 (~$117).
- More on these two devices here.
Realme at IFA 2020
Realme made a splash at IFA 2020, with Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth announcing the company is doubling down on Europe.
- At the launch, Realme announced the Watch S Pro, Buds Air Pro, and Buds Wireless Pro will be coming to Europe this year.
- More details on the launches here, but we didn’t see exact pricing and Realme only gave a Q4 2020 timeframe.
We’ll see you next year for IFA 2021 coverage, so check in early for all the build-up and the biggest news before and after the IFA 2021 show dates.