IFA 2012 preview - what we know is coming and speculations

We know you're tech buffs. In fact, we're pretty sure that you already knew pretty much everything we highlighted in our initial IFA preview article.

What you really want to know, we think, is what moves to expect on the dance floor when IFA gets moving and shaking next week. As usual, there's unlikely to be a dull moment in Berlin and, to that end, we've set up a news feed and a dedicated IFA hub, so you can enjoy streamlined access to our best, most comprehensive event coverage to date.

The real question heading into the event is what might ITProPortal be covering once we've touched down at Schoenefeld? With that in mind, we've composed the following round-up, which looks ahead to IFA 2012 and features both a summary of confirmed announcements and a little bit of healthy speculation.

Of course, this won't even scratch the surface of the blockbuster revelations likely to emerge from IFA 2012, but we hope it gets you as excited about next week as we are..

Samsung

Despite being one of the biggest names at this year's IFA, Samsung has so far resisted the temptation to leave too much to the imagination, as bitter rival Apple tends to do.

The Korean tech titan's IFA mood is likely to be impacted greatly by the legal decision coming out of California in the coming days, which is perhaps why it seems to be saving its next mystery unveil for a later date.

Having said that, the confirmed arrival of the Galaxy Note 2 is nothing to sniff at. As we've said before, it's a clever move on Samsung's part to launch its latest "phablet" only a few days before Apple's all-but-confirmed 12 September blockbuster, likely to be dominated by the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini. Sitting somewhere in between the nascent Apple devices in terms of size and functionality, the Note 2 might not sell anywhere near as much as the iToys, but its positioning and versatility could certainly nab a few sales off the iconic US firm.

But Samsung isn't betting the farm on a lone new product to help avoid the kind of Q4 2012 sales slump it's widely predicted to suffer after Apple unveils its latest offerings. Instead, it's also looking to improve on its existing contraptions to make them seem like viable buys in spite of the iPhone 5/iPad mini frenzy predicted for September.

Prior to IFA, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, and having already launched in the UK and Europe, the device is unlikely to feature in a major way at IFA. But it could still make an appearance - namely, it's a major candidate for a Jelly Bean update.

In fact, we've heard lots of rumours about where Android 4.1 could be heading next, and Samsung's devices are hot tips at the moment. The Korean firm's premier smartphone, the Galaxy S3, has featured in many of these speculative stories, with online mischief makers claiming that Samsung's London flagship store at the Westfield Stratford shopping centre was actively pushing out upgrades.

The official retailer vehemently denied these claims when questioned by ITProPortal, though it did seem to hint that rumours of a 29 August Jelly Bean rollout for the S3 weren't illegitimate. That date, of course, coincides nicely with the company's IFA press conference, which is set for 30 August. It would hardly be a surprise, therefore, if Samsung unveiled a wider Android update timeline next week.

Indeed, where the Galaxy S3 is concerned, Samsung is likely to be focusing much of its IFA charm offensive on making its flagship smartphone seem as fresh as possible in view of the new iPhone's impending arrival. In addition to Jelly Bean, accessories will also be central to the year's hottest handset retaining it's market dominance, and further speculation could point to it getting a wireless charging pad next week.

Then there's the latest addition to the Galaxy range, the dual-SIM S Duos, which Samsung announced on Monday. The pricing and release date details it failed to mention earlier in the week may form a further part of it its IFA agenda, while luxury TVs could be a wild card for the Korean firm heading into the lucrative holiday shopping season.

On the next page...LG and Sony

LG

Indeed, 2012 could emerge as the year of the "phablet," at least as far as IFA in concerned. In addition to the Galaxy Note 2, common sense also points to LG's 5in Optimus Vu also being unveiled next week. The device has been available in LG's native Korea, as well as Japan, since March, following its initial launch at Mobile World Congress back in February.

The patience of European consumers looks like it may pay off. The six-month odd time lag means that the device hitting UK shelves in September will be vastly improved over the earlier iteration: a dual-core Snapdragon processor has been swapped for a more powerful Nvidia Tegra quad-core chipset, while Android 2.3 Gingerbread has been upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.

But while LG has confirmed that the new hybrid device will drop on Europe this September, it hasn't made mention of pricing or an on-sale date. If they're not going to launch it at IFA, they might as well not bother.

What LG has confirmed it will show-off at IFA is a new home cinema offering - a frankly ludicrous 84in, 4K-ready ultra-definition TV. Likely to be on a fair few oligarchic Christmas lists this year, it makes it even more likely that rival manufacturer and market leader Samsung will also unveil a ridiculous new display next week.

Sony

Sony has been making headlines for the wrong reasons lately, namely for dragging its heels when it comes to Android updates for its devices. At IFA, the Japanese conglomerate will no doubt look to regain some momentum, with recent leaks potentially pointing to the launch of a new tablet, the Xperia Tablet S, at this year's big Berlin expo.

A refresh of last year's Tablet S, the new slate is rumoured to be thinner and more powerful than its predecessor and should be arriving pre-loaded with Ice Cream Sandwich. Given that it's Sony, we're unlikely to see Jelly Bean accompanying it, but at least it's something.

Of course, what we'd really like to see is a PlayStation 4 beta - but that's about as likely as Tim Cook zip-cabling down from the ceiling WWE-style to deliver a secret keynote speech revealing the iPhone 5 in tandem with Justin Bieber.

Acer

ITProPortal recently got an exclusive peek at a bold new Acer advertising campaign, and the Taiwanese firm will no doubt be looking to carry its bullish mood into Berlin.

The ad centres on Acer's Aspire S5 ultrabook, and - following on from star-studded marketing drives by Apple (Samuel L Jackson) and Samsung (James Franco) - featured Hollywood hard man Keifer Sutherland. The 24 star, it seems, is a fan of the S5, otherwise known as the world's reigning thinnest laptop, and we think Acer's refreshing product presentation could grab it some attention at IFA this year.

So too could its Liquid Gallant Solo smartphone. While unconfirmed, the Solo - or the E350 as it's also known - seems to be pretty far along the pipeline, with reports last week revealing that a user guide for the nascent handset was already available on Acer's website. With just a single-core processor, it's hardly an iPhone 5 rival, but given the recession mood currently dominating Europe, an entry-level smartphone could certainly enjoy a share of the limelight next week - as could the Taiwanese company's higher end Cloud Mobile device.

Microsoft

Microsoft

Microsoft is positioned to be a major force at this year's show, albeit indirectly via its latest generational operating system refresh, Windows 8 and the closely related Windows RT - IFA 2012 looks likely to be heavy on devices that run the new-gen OS.

Intel is planning to show off more than 20 Windows 8 tablets, while Lenovo is also heavily rumoured to be announcing a new iteration of its popular Thinkpad that runs the new Microsoft software. The Surface-like Archos 101 XS is another prime candidate to get a Windows RT model. Pretty much all the world's top PC manufacturers will be in attendance next week, with the likes of Dell and Samsung also worth keeping an eye on for Microsoft-related announcements.