CCS Insight: Smartphones and watches to dominate IFA consumer electronics show

Low-cost LTE smartphones, smart wearables and connected home innovations are set to dominate the forthcoming IFA consumer show in Germany, according to latest research from CCS Insight.

Samsung Gear 2 smart watch

Samsung's Gear S smart watch

The event, which takes place in Berlin from Sep. 5-10, is an increasingly attractive platform for big name vendors looking to launch devices ahead of the key Christmas selling period in the final quarter of the year.

CCS Insight predicts smartphones launched at the event will have larger screens than current models, thanks to advances in edge-to-edge manufacturing techniques. Japanese vendor Sharp recently pointed the way, with the launch of its Aquos Crystal smartphone, which it claims is the first commercial smartphone with an edge-to-edge display.

The research company also expects the screen resolution on high-end smartphones to be pushed to 2,000 pixels along the longer edge, and that vendors will seek to enhance smartphones' front and rear-facing cameras. CCS Insight said battery life is again becoming a key sales feature on smartphones, meaning vendors will likely focus on power saving tools.

CCS Insight also tips the cost of LTE smartphones to continue to fall and said vendors will add "low-cost, well engineered LTE devices" to their portfolios "as the prices of 4G phones tumble." Alcatel OneTouch is one vendor expected to introduce some "keenly priced LTE devices" during the show.

Samsung is tipped to have the biggest presence at IFA out of all vendors, with devices including its recently announced Galaxy Alpha and the latest Galaxy Note tablet likely to make their debut at the event. The vendor is also due to display its Gear S smart watch, which it announced last week.

CCS Insight added that a great deal is riding on the devices that Samsung unveils at IFA after the company struggled to maintain profits in the first half of 2014.

Sony also needs a strong showing at the event, the research company said. The vendor is expected to reveal the latest in its Xperia smartphone line during the show, and talk up the synergies between its consumer electronics and content businesses.

CCS Insight also predicts that Chinese vendors including Acer, Asus and Huawei will showcase new devices during the event, but the research company is uncertain about Lenovo, which may hold off launching new products until it completes an acquisition of Motorola Mobile from Google.

In the wearable device segment, CCS Insight tips fitness bands and smart watches to dominate product introductions at IFA. The research company does, however, also expect a wide range of other wearable designs to emerge at the event, including smart headphones and jewellery, and wearable cameras.

In addition to the usual big name phone vendors, companies tipped to launch smart wearables at the show include Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and TomTom.

While CCS Insight expects plenty of new tablet PCs to be unveiled at IFA, it notes the number will be down on previous years as European consumer demand for the form factor wanes.

Vendors are likely to focus on new variations of the tablet, however, with CCS Insight noting the regular slate design is now being "squeezed between convertible two-in-one PC designs at one end and large-screen smartphones at the other."

Meanwhile Europe will begin to close the gap to the U.S. in terms of availability of connected home equipment, CCS Insight predicts. The main areas of focus include entertainment, personal data and storage, and control and monitoring equipment.

CCS Insight also expects strong pushes from connected home standardisation bodies including the AllSeen Alliance, ZigBee Alliance, Z-Wave Alliance and Google's Nest.

For more:
- view CCS Insight's IFA predictions [reg. req.]

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