IFA 2011: all the latest announcements

Below is our original IFA predictions piece. Read on to see if we were correct...

The IFA site is so huge it has its own transport system to help get folks around. With more attendees and exhibition space than CES, it can legitimately claim to be the world's biggest tech expo.

Amazingly, the show first opened its doors way back in 1924. Since then it's seen numerous tech milestones.

In 1930 Albert Einstein gave a keynote speech about the future of radio; five years later the event introduced the first magnetic recording tape. In 1967 PAL colour televisions made their debut, and then in 1981 CD players were unveiled before a curious public. It was at IFA, in 1995, that European broadcasters began to demonstrate digital TV for the first time.

Naturally, the big brands are keeping product announcements and developments close to their chests, as they prepare for the big IFA reveal on 1 September. Until then rumour and speculation is the name of the game. That said, it's not too difficult to predict the direction that tech winds will be blowing.

The big buzzwords bouncing around the halls of IFA 2011 will be (in no particular order) 4K2K, Smart TV, autostereocopic 3D and, of course, tablets. Feel free to combine any and all of these to produce your imaginary device of choice.

Those who have been hoping that the 3D bandwagon would at least develop a slow puncture (yes, amazingly there are a few naysayers still out there) are likely to be disappointed. The big 3D TV makers will all be hawking better-than-ever third generation displays.

One highlight you can expect to see in the Panasonic hall is the brand's astonishing new 152inch 3D plasma. We've already had a preview of this monster and can confirm it is quite simply the most jaw-dropping flat-panel on the planet.

Panasonic has long enjoyed producing impractically large plasmas (just because it can), and this is its most ambitious screen yet. The 4K Active Shutter panel has a resolution of 8 million pixels; at a recent demo we watched in slack-jawed amazement as it upscaled Avatar from a standard Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player.

2011 has already been deemed the year of the smart TV by the likes of Samsung and LG, and this message is only likely to be reinforced at IFA 2011. While Ethernet is now de rigueur on all types of CE gear, Wi-Fi has been an awkward add-on. However, come IFA, the dongle will go the way of the Dodo, as building-in becomes the new going out.

The evolution of the tablet

Naturally, tablets will be everywhere at IFA 2011, with dozens of cookie-cutter slates on hand. What will be new, however, is how they'll be positioned. Many of these handhelds will be promoted as your next second TV screen.

Viera tablet

TABLET FRENZY: A new wave of tablet devices will launch, aimed at enhancing the TV viewing experience

Samsung used IFA 2010 to launch its original Samsung Galaxy Tab and it looks like the company will be using this year's show to launch a follow-up device - the Samsung Galaxy Q. The rumour is that it's a "tabphone" that's half tablet, half phone. Read more about the Samsung Galaxy Q here.

Samsung has also shown off a couple of tablet teaser videos, too.

We'll also see a new Intel Ultrabook from Acer (basically a MacBook Air-style machine), as well as potentially Samsung - the Korean giant usually brings out a bunch of laptops at IFA and this year looks to be no exception - as usual there's a whole press conference specifically for their computing kit.

We're also expecting tablets and computing devices from numerous other vendors including Lenovo and Toshiba.

Sony will also be unveiling its S1 and S2 tablets too. The S1 could be known as the Sony Tablet S. It would also be nice if HTC would show us its HTC Puccini tablet, too.

We know that Panasonic's first tablets will allow you to access its Viera Connect IPTV and apps store directly, as well as act as a turbo-charged remote control for a tethered screen.

What about phones?

IFA isn't traditionally a phone show, but Samsung has launched phones before at the show, while it looks like the show conveniently falls into place for Windows Phone Mango.

Mango will be released on 1 September, and it's very likely that HTC, Samsung and others are looking to IFA 2011 to unveil their hardware.

Samsung has already pre-empted the show with the Samsung Galaxy M Pro, Samsung Galaxy Y and Samsung Galaxy Y Pro.

Back to the future

IFA has a habit of repeating itself. So expect those uber-cool products unveiled at IFA 2010, but still conspicuous by their absence in the real world, to return refreshed. We'll bet dollars to doughnuts that you'll witness the second coming of LG's fabled Nano-LED TVs, only this time with Cinema 3D passive tech replacing the Active Shutter 3D system they were originally shown with.

LG nano

BACK AGAIN: First shown last year, but still not on sale, LG's Nano LED screens will get a Passive 3D makeover at IFA

Of course, LG will still be shilling gear unlikely to ship anytime soon. We predict the highlight of the LG hall will be its first large screen 4K2K 3D display. This will use the brand's proprietary FPR (Film Pattern Retarder) filter and, thanks to the higher resolution of the 4K panel, will be able to produce the first ever Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) Passive 3D picture.

LG has also indicated that it a major part of its IFA 2011 thinking is around how it can push its plasma televisions in 'new and exciting directions'.

"Through our on-going commitment to plasma, we've come up with technology that's raised plasma picture quality to new heights, and helped rejuvenate the overall plasma TV market," said Heui-seob Kim, vice president and head of the PDP TV business at LG Electronics.

"At IFA 2011, we'll be taking the chance to show European consumers the true potential of plasma, and how we're setting the pace with innovations that deliver real improvements in how viewers can watch and interact with their TVs."

Bizarrely LG has also revealed a mouse and scanner combination device which will debut at the show.

LG's rival Samsung does not traditionally use IFA to launch swathes of new AV kit, reserving that privilege for January's CES event (and using the show to launch a lot of computing kit instead). However, the company does like to steal a headline or two. One way it could do this is by taking the wraps off its own radical new 3D TV technology.

The brand is known to have done a deal with 3D pioneer Real D to create a new generation of displays which deliver Full HD 3D using passive polarising glasses. No specifics have been announced, but by shifting shuttering LCD tech to the panel and away from high-tech eyeware, the brand will free itself from the expensive handcuffs that are Active Shutter spectacles.

Sony, Samsung and Panasonic have also shown that they are not backing down on making active shutter by announcing a new standard initiative with Xpand. Expect more details on this at the show, even though 2012 is more likely for launch.

Over in Toshiba's hall, there's certain to be a massive push on autostereoscopic (no glasses needed) 3D. We predict Toshiba will show a groundbreaking 55inch Auto-3D screen. The company has already touted prototypes and seems firmly committed to making autostereocopic TV happen. Of course, you won't be able to buy one until at least 2012.

Meanwhile, Hanspreee has announced it will be bringing a new generation of its apple-styled TV to the show.

More Smart TVs

IFA 2011 won't just be about hardware, though. Reflecting the rise of Smart devices, there will be a new emphasis on apps and content.

Samsung UK's AV marketing chief Russell Owens says that IFA 2011 will be about more than just kit. "You can be certain apps and services will be a big story at this year's event," he told us.

Sony spokesperson Lucie Speciale agrees, saying that for Sony IFA 2011 will be about "discovering new services and most importantly experiencing digital content in ways that haven't been seen before." She adds "key themes will be connectivity, mobility, entertainment and the next stages of 3D."

We can't wait.

Global Editor-in-Chief

After watching War Games and Tron more times that is healthy, Paul (Twitter, Google+) took his first steps online via a BBC Micro and acoustic coupler back in 1985, and has been finding excuses to spend the day online ever since. This includes roles editing .net magazine, launching the Official Windows Magazine, and now as Global EiC of TechRadar.