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IFA 2018 preview: Wearables to expect at Europe’s largest tech show

Europe’s biggest technology show, known as IFA, is held annually in Berlin. The event is a chance for companies to showcase their existing and upcoming products. Over 250,000 have attended the event last year. In 2018 the 57th IFA will take place.

Wearables are one of the most talked about technologies in the run-up to the gathering. The actual event opens to the public on August 31st, but there will be a string of press conferences in the run-up to the big day.

We will be on the ground in Berlin to report on all the news. Last year we witnessed a number of launches including the Fitbit Ionic, a trio of Garmin Vivo devices, Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro and Gear Sport and Misfit Command. This year should be no less exciting.

Here is what to expect.


Fitbit

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Image source: Fitbit

Fitbit is a regular at the show and last year it used it as an opportunity to launch its first ever smartwatch. This year the company released a better version of its best selling fitness tracker. The Charge 3 comes with water-proofing, 7 day battery life, a touch-screen display, lighten and more durable wrapper, Fitbit Pay, smartphone apps and more.

There were lots of leaks over the past month and Fitbit may have decided it was better to reveal details of the device, rather than wait for IFA. Whatever the case, Charge 3 is available now for pre-order with delivery set in about a month. The good news for those of us on the ground in Berlin is that we’ll be able to see and play around with the tracker.


Garmin

Garmin has debuted a string of devices at the Berlin gathering in recent years so don’t be surprised if they conjure up a wearable or two at the end of the month. Exactly what is not clear at the moment as there have been no leaks. Our money is on a new version of the Vivosport.

This year, the company has upgraded its Fenix 5 watch to include payments, offline storage for music, Galileo and a few other goodies. The Forerunner 935 could benefit from these features, too, and it is another candidate for an update. Fenix 6 is also in the works but we don’t expect that one to land until next year.


LG

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Image source: LG

There’s been little news on the smartwatch front from LG recently. But a new device is slated for a soon-ish launch. Dubbed LG Watch Timepiece, it is expected to be a hybrid that combines mechanical hands with a full round color touchscreen. The physical needles on the display will tap into highly precise quartz movement to show the time. One of the benefits of having a watch-hand combination is prolonged battery life.

FCC documents reveal another device that could be a second smartwatch or different variant of Watch Timepiece. Both come with Bluetooth and WiFi, but no cellular.


Samsung

The South Korean tech giant has just debuted its much anticipated Galaxy Watch. An updated version of its ageing Gear line, it comes with LTE connectivity, comprehensive fitness smarts, GPS, water resistance and a price-tag to match. Few real surprises, though.

Last year Samsung debuted Gear Fit 2 Pro and Fear Sport at the event. Considering the recent unveiling, we don’t expect much from Samsung on the smartwatch front in the immediate future.


Fossil

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Image source: Fossil

Its a safe bet that Fossil Group will be showing off new touchscreen and hybrid smartwatch collections at the event. The company already has a rich portfolio of over 300 wearables across its various brands. This includes Misfit, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Skagen, Michael Kors, Fossil and others. The most recent additions to this growing list are Puma and BMW. Misfit, which now falls on the Fossil brand, will also have a display area in Berlin.

The company has recently debuted its first fourth generation devices. Updated versions of the Q Explorist and Q Venture, they bring a heart rate sensor, GPS and NFC to the party. Combined with Google Fit, the watches now have the tech ability to replace fitness trackers.


Huawei

New trademark applications from Huawei suggests the company is working on a new smartwatch, most likely the Huawei Watch 3. There are actually three different filings that refer to devices called Anchor, Unlimited and Voyage. These could be three variants of the same watch or three entirely separate devices.

There’s been little other information on the Huawei Watch 3 but if these trademarks are anything to go by the launch date should not be far off. We wouldn’t be surprised if the watch surfaces in late August or early September at IFA 2018 in the German capital.


Casio

Casio has a press conference scheduled for the 29th of August, and its possible it could announce a new smartwatch or two. The Japan-based outfit has a wide range of products including calculators, mobile phones, digital cameras and electronic musical instruments. On the smartwatch front, its well known for its range of Wear OS rugged, outdoor watches.


Others

Many other companies will be showcasing trackers for sports, outdoor activities and sleeping, along with smartwatches, smart clothes, smart helmets and much more. You can find a full list at this link.

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