IFA 2016 preview: Tablets and Hybrids

What do tablets and laptops have in common? Well, it may seem they are both past their prime. You would have come across predictions that we will soon be junking old-school laptops to start tapping away on tablets. But apparently, even tablets are falling out of favour — an IDC report from August notes that worldwide tablet shipments declined 12.3 per cent in the second quarter. It seems consumers are veering towards devices that enhance productivity, such as hybrids and detachables that easily morph from an entertainment device to a computing machine.

Apple is in the fray with the iPad Pro, which it hopes will be considered to be a productivity device when used with the special keyboard and Apple Pencil. Elsewhere, PC brands have been innovating with hybrid devices in a dizzying range of form factors that bend, twist, detach, flip or rotate. And you will get to see their latest creative efforts at IFA 2016.

Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga Tab3 Plus - Source GSMArenaLenovo has hit the jackpot with the aptly-named Yoga, which flips 360 degrees to become a tablet. It even stops in-between for what the company calls “tent mode”. At IFA 2016, Lenovo claims it will further blur the lines of creativity and productivity and usher in a new chapter in tablets. The Chinese company will also refresh its Yoga tablet range with the Tab 3 Plus 10. This is a tench-inch tablet with a 16:10 screen ratio, which should make it a pleasure to work on — especially if Lenovo delivers on the new form of “intuitive keyboard” it has been teasing the media with.

Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 leaked image -- source Masterherald.comAfter Apple, Samsung sells the highest number of tablets. However, according to IDC its market share dropped from 18.2 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter to 15.6 per cent. Samsung will launch the diminutive Galaxy Tab S3 at IFA. This eight-inch device will sport the company’s signature AMOLED display and come with a premium Sandstone finish that is easier to grip. Surprisingly, there is very little info out there on what else the South Korean tech titan might release on the tablets and convertibles front. Has the company lost interest? Perhaps, with the likes of the Galaxy Note 7 and the Gear S3 hogging the limelight, Samsung’s new tablets will be seen tucked away in a lonely corner in Berlin.

Acer

Acer Predator-8The press invite shows an ultra-thin laptop, a less-than sign and the numeral one. We interpret this to mean that Acer is going to launch a laptop that is less than one inch thick, giving the likes of the Macbook Air and HP Spectre series a run for their money. The company has also won praises for its Predator line of gaming laptops and the Predator 8 gaming tablet, which should be on display at IFA 2016. But more interestingly, the rumour is that Acer is working on a high-end gaming smartwatch, along with some sort of smart wearable device. We’re not yet sure exactly what a gaming watch does, but it does sound intriguing. There might even get to see a VR headset to challenge the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Asus

Asus ZenBook FlipFrom computers and motherboards to tablets, phones, smartwatches and hybrids – the journey has been a remarkable one for Asus. The company calls it Zenvolution, and at IFA, expect to see a wide range of products, including the latest ZenBook 3 ultra-thin laptop and the ZenBook Flip that converts from a laptop to a tablet using Infinity Hinge, which Asus calls a “miniature design masterpiece”. There’s also a good chance we will see a new Chromebook or two — especially a model that flips and has a touchscreen to make the most of the upcoming support for Android apps on Chromebooks. On the tablets front, Asus will showcase the ZenPad 3s 10 tablet, which packs in a 9.7-inch 2K display.