Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro

Samsung embraces Windows 8 and Android with new smartphones

The huge IFA consumer technology pre-show began in Berlin last night, with major press conferences from Sony, Panasonic and Samsung. 

Mobile devices look set to dominate IFA, with all of the major players in the fray. The only absentees from day one of IFA were Apple, who are tipped to announce the iPhone 5 on 12 September, and Nokia, tipped to formally announce their Windows 8 phones on 5 September.

Probably most exciting was Samsung's Galaxy Note II. The phenomenally successful Galaxy range seems increasingly to cover every conceivable base between the Tab, S and Note ranges of Android phones and "phablets" – large-screen phone-tablet hybrids. The Note II features a 5.5" screen, 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 8MP camera. Samsung also surprised by unveiling a new "Ativ" range that will feature Windows 8 – the Ativ Smart PC and Ativ Smart PC Pro are tablet/notebook hybrids with detachable keyboards, while the Ativ S is a dual-core, 4.8" smartphone.

Rivals Sony also had exciting news with their Xperia T. Firstly, this is a high-end 13MP 1080p video-shooting camera (and 720p front-facing camera). Secondly, it's James Bond's phone of choice in the forthcoming movie Skyfall. Thirdly, it's dual-core for improved battery life versus quad-core rivals.

Outside of phones and tablets, Samsung also hit the right notes with its Galaxy Camera – essentially, a beefed-up smartphone without calls or texts, 16MP sensor, Android 4.1 OS and quad-core processing mix and match with 3G, 4G and wi-fi connectivity and a 21x optical zoom.

Finally, in the world of mobile, the Archos GamePad looks set to bring analogue stick-gaming control to Android games, with Archos clearly aiming to bridge the gap between hard-to-control smartphone games and too-expensive niche gaming handheld consoles such as the Sony PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS. It's set to cost under £130 for a 7" screen.

The big news inside the home is the shift in TV manufacturers from 3D being the next big thing to 4K (and beyond) resolutions being the next big thing. Almost everyone showed screens multiple times the resolution of existing full HD TVs, with automatic upscaling of HD content being the standard feature. Most impressive (and expensive) was Panasonic's 145" 8K Super Hi Vision screen. NHK broadcasters say they plan to start 8K broadcasts in 2020.

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