Smartwatches to phones: 11 of the latest tech launches

Arjun Kharpal

The IFA consumer electronics show opened to the public over the weekend and companies from Samsung to LG to Huawei used it as a platform to launch devices they hope can give them the technological edge.

Smartwatches, smartphones, TVs and tablets were among the hardware launched.

Here's a rundown of the latest tech that you might want on your Christmas wish list.


Samsung Gear S2

Arjun Kharpal

The Gear S2 is Samsung's reply to the Apple Watch as the battle in the wearable markets heats up.

It runs Samsung's own Tizen operating system but is compatible with many Android devices. The South Korean electronics giant is offering the model in a standard version and a "classic" version.

Gear S2 wearers use a rotating bezel to move around the screen and the device has interchangeable bands and near-field communication technology to work with Samsung Pay.


Huawei Mate S

Huawei

Chinese electronics giant Huawei unveiled what it dubbed a "luxury" smartphone, the Mate S, that could compete with Apple's iPhones and Samsung's flagship S6 Plus and S6 Edge Plus.

The Mate S feature that Huawei highlighted at IFA last week was the "force touch" technology that allows users to carry out different functions depending on how much pressure they put on the screen.

Huawei said the screen could even be used as a weighing scale.

Apple's next iPhones are rumored to have the same pressure-sensitive technology.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3

Lenovo

Lenovo is sticking to its guns on tablets, even though the market is set to decline 8 percent year-on-year in terms of shipments in 2015, according to IDC.

Lenovo's Yoga Tab 3 and Tab 3 Pro are billed as the ultimate entertainment tablets, coming pre-installed with Netflix and featuring a built-in projector.


Sony Xperia Z5

Sony

Sony's struggles in the mobile space continue, but this has not stopped the Japanese electronics giant bringing out a new series of devices called the Xperia Z5, one of which has been billed as the "world's first 4K smartphone".

There are three models – the Compact with a 4.6-inch screen, the mid-sized Z5 phone with a 5.2-inch screen, and the Z5 Premium with a 5.5-inch ultra-high definition display.

Sony's new phones reveal a focus on the more profitable areas of its business: Image sensors and gaming. The Z5, for instance, has a 23-megapixel camera, marking the first time that Sony has included a new sensor in its smartphones since the Z1 was released in 2013.


Huawei Watch

Huawei

At IFA, Huawei gave more details about its smartwatch, which it announced earlier in the year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

With the option to choose different straps and even have a rose gold case, the Chinese electronics group is trying to position itself in the mid-to-high-end of the nascent smartwatch market.

The Huawei Watch, featuring a 1.4-inch screen and stainless steel case, went on sale in Western Europe last week priced between 399 euros ($447) and 699 euros, depending on the version.


LG 4K OLED TV

LG

South Korea's LG showed off what it dubbed as the "world's first HDR (high dynamic range) capable 4K OLED TV".

4K or ultra-high definition refers to the television's resolution, which surpasses current high-definition TVs.

Images shot in HDR essentially make the contrast between light and dark colors even more prominent so the white highlights are even brighter. The purpose is to make the image on screen look more realistic.

Both and are betting that content providers like Netflix, Amazon and the major movie studios will be open to shooting in this quality.


Moto 360

Motorola

Lenovo-owned Motorola launched a new version of its smartwatch at IFA in a bid to repeat the success of its original round-faced design.

The Moto 360 collection has two models – a regular and a "sport" version. It runs on Android Wear and Motorola pushed the customizable aspect of the device in a bid to stand out from the crowd.

Motorola won plaudits last year when it brought out one of the first smartwatches with a round face. But as manufacturers focus more on the look of the device, a number of others have released round-faced smartwatches, which could take away one of the Moto 360's key selling points.


Samsung SmartThings

SmartThings

In other "smart device" releases, Samsung unveiled the next generation of its SmartThings Hub and a range of sensors - including one to detect moisture, motion, and even whether doors are open and closed. These sensors will be able to detect movement in the house for example and send the user a notification to their smartphone.

Samsung has been pushing its smart home devices recently as it looks to be at the center of the household in both appliances and devices such as smartphones and TVs.


LG Watch Urbane Luxe

LG

As the wearables market rapidly grows, it's no surprise companies are looking for a way to standout. One way to do that – as demonstrated by Apple and now LG – is to make a really expensive smartwatch.

The South Korean electronics giant launched a $1,200 version of its Watch Urbane Luxe which is cased in 23-karat gold. IT has an alligator skin strap and is sold in a "piano-gloss lacquer case", according to the company. But the underlying mechanics are the same as the Watch Urbane it released earlier this year.

LG is hoping to play in the nascent luxury smartwatch segment, but it hopes to win on price with the Apple Watch Edition – its closest competitor – costing substantially higher at $10,000.


Lenovo PHAB Plus

Lenovo

In one of the more bizarre launches at IFA, Lenovo unveiled a supersized smartphone.

A "phablet" used to refer to a smartphone that had a 5.5-inch screen or bigger. But with that display size becoming the norm, Lenovo went one step further and took the wraps off the 6.8-inch PHAB Plus.

There is certainly demand for bigger screens, hence why Apple unveiled its iPhone 6 Plus last year. But it'll be interesting to see whether the PHAB Plus might prove a bit too big.


DJI Drones

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Of course, no technology show could be complete without drones. DJI, one of the biggest players in the space, did not unveil any new unmanned aircraft, but added software upgrades to its existing products that are designed for hobbyists and filmmakers.

DJI Drones come equipped with cameras and the new software upgrades include functions like setting an automatic flight path.

Drones are being used a lot more in filming on Hollywood sets. There is even a couple of drone film festivals that have popped up recently.


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