Apple’s rivals have stolen a march on the U.S. company with a raft of smart device announcements that consumers will be able to see and touch at the IFA consumer electronics show in Germany this weekend.

Samsung, Sony, Huawei and Microsoft were among the big names to unveil new smartphones and tablets almost a week before Apple is expected to take the wraps off its latest model, the iPhone 6.

The timing of the consumer event – just before Apple’s annual product launches – has made IFA increasingly attractive to rival device makers eager to generate at least some publicity for the products that will carry them through the crucial holiday-selling period before Apple takes centre stage.

South Korean vendor Samsung confirmed reports of new products in its Galaxy Note ‘phablet’ range – devices that are larger than a smartphone, but smaller than a tablet PC.

The company unveiled the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge, which features an innovative curved screen for displaying frequently used apps and services. Both devices run the Android operating system, and sport 2.7 GHz quad-core processors.

Samsung announced last week that it will also display its first SIM-enabled smart watch, the Smart Gear, at IFA.

Japanese vendor Sony, meanwhile, unveiled a pair of new smartphones in its Xperia range – the Z3 and Z3 Compact. Sony is pitching Z-series devices as flagship products, so the 5.2-inch Z3 and 4.6-inch Z3 Compact offer features including a 20.7 megapixel camera, a two-day battery life, access to PlayStation 4 gaming, and a water and dust resistance rating of IP65/68 that Sony said is the highest available.

The link to Sony’s successful PlayStation games console is likely to be welcomed by analysts at CCS Insight. In a recent IFA preview, the research company tipped Sony to begin trading more heavily on its other consumer electronics and content brands to boost smartphone sales.

“Sony needs a strong story at IFA; like others it has struggled to achieve its smartphone sales targets in 2014, reducing its forecast for the full year in its latest earnings update,” CCS Insight noted in the preview.

Microsoft

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