What happened at top smartphone brands in 2023?

Google brought in two AI-heavy phones: Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. Motorola had a ‘flexible year’ with the arrival of Motorola Razr 40 and Razr 40 Ultra. OnePlus introduced its first foldable phone in 2023

Updated - December 11, 2023 04:44 pm IST

Published - December 11, 2023 03:25 pm IST

Google Pixel 8

Google Pixel 8 | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

From Apple’s Bionic chipset to the iPhone maker’s adoption of Type-C port in its latest device, this year ushered in several subtle changes in the smartphone industry. Google, for instance, launched its Pixel 8 series with latest AI advancements. And Samsung replaced Xiaomi as the number one smartphone player.

Here is a glimpse of what happened in smartphone industry in 2023.

Apple launched its 15th generation iPhones with the base models (iPhone 15 and 15 Pro) getting dynamic island feature and a 48MP main lens for the first time. The Pro ones received a subtle change in material used: Titanium in this case. While the basic models are doing quite well in India, the Pro variants faced some heating issue which got resolved with an update. Apple also introduced the Watch Ultra 2 in 2023 while bringing gesture control feature on Series 9.

Google brought in two AI-heavy phones: Pixel 8 and 8 Pro using Tensor G3 processor. With the latest feature drop, Google introduced Gemini Nano on Pixel 8 Pro which may simplify large-size recordings, help in typing, and photo and video editing – all on-device.

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Google also introduced temperature sensor on Pixel 8 Pro in 2023 that lets users check any surface temperature with just a click. It also brought Pixel Watch 2 to India for the first time.

Motorola had a ‘flexible year’ in 2023 with the arrival of Motorola Razr 40 and Razr 40 Ultra to stake its claim in the foldable phone market. It also played a crucial role in mid and premium segment with Edge 40 Neo and Edge 40 phones.

Samsung continued its march with the launch of S23 series in February and its fifth generation foldable smartphone in July. In between, it tried to balance with mid and premium range phones with Snapdragon and Exynos processors. The Z Fold5 and Z Flip5 cemented Samsung’s leadership position in the foldable smartphone race with multi-tasking abilities. The Galaxy S23 series with 200MP and ‘moon’ capture on top of S-Pen functions did well among Android lovers.

OnePlus started the year with OnePlus 11 and ended with its first foldable phone, OnePlus Open. Meanwhile, the Nord series continued to do well for the brand. OnePlus’s Open came with some really good features like a peak brightness of 2,800 nits and an almost crease-free display giving some tough time to the established folders like Samsung.

Honor made its re-entry in 2023 with Honor 90 and Madhav Sheth who switched from Realme along with other key executives. The Honor 90 made some news with the display having a 3,840Hz PWM dimming for less flickering which is way ahead of industry standards of sub-2000Hz PWM.

Realme had to face leadership issue with Sheth joining Honor Tech, but it managed to get Shah Rukh Khan on-board as its new brand ambassador. It continued with launching range of budget, mid and premium segment phones, the Realme 11 series and Narzo series brought good hits.

Vivo scaled to number two position on the smartphone leader board yet it had to face ED radar for an alleged money laundering case. Vivo X90 series emerged as the top phones from the brand to come out in 2023, the V29 series played crucial role in the premium segment.

Oppo kept it low with a mix of Reno10 series and N3 Flip launch. It is quietly managing the backend task of OnePlus and Realme’s manufacturing while pushing its own inventories from time to time.

Xiaomi had a tough time in 2023 loosing the India’s smartphone leadership position. It is trying to create a segment of Leica-powered phones in India with phones like Xiaomi 13 Pro while simultaneously working on affordable 5G smartphones. Xiaomi got stabilised with the good performance from its Redmi A series and Redmi 12.

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