Samsung lost ground in six countries due to competition from Xiaomi, TECNO, realme, and Apple.
Samsung to capture the top spot in two new nations this year – India and Malaysia.
The brand increased market share in India with its multifaceted distribution strategy.
Samsung is projected to secure the leadership position in terms of market share in 42 countries in 2023, down from the 46 it dominated a year ago, according to Counterpoint Research’s Quarterly Market Monitor report. The current analysis, which includes a total of 74 nations, indicates that while Samsung is expected to concede its leading position in six countries, including the Philippines, it will concurrently regain the top spot in two nations, India and Malaysia. Expressly, Samsung will be losing first rank in four countries this year.
The Philippines, Algeria, and Kuwait are among the six countries where Samsung is poised to lose its top position. Historically, the Philippines has been a robust market for Samsung, boasting a substantial share of shipments within Southeast Asia. However, the dynamics are shifting, especially with the fervent reception of the realme C55 model released during H1 2023. The model experienced significant popularity, even leading to a midnight sellout on ecommerce channels. This surge in momentum suggests a potential threat to Samsung’s top position throughout the latter half of the year.
Meanwhile, Apple is expected to surpass Samsung in Kuwait to take the top spot while TECNO is set to dethrone Samsung in Algeria. Apple’s expected rise to the top in Kuwait’s major GCC market is due to the popularity of the iPhone 14 Pro series in the $800 and above premium segment during H1 2023. Meanwhile, in Algeria, Samsung is set to lose its leading position due to TECNO’s competitive pricing strategies.
However, Samsung is poised to surpass Xiaomi and secure the top position in India and Malaysia this year. Samsung has been employing diverse strategies to capture the Indian market. Samsung is successfully implementing a multifaceted distribution strategy, with the Galaxy A series targeting offline channels, the F series focusing on the large online retailer Flipkart, and the M series being a key player on Amazon. Additionally, the premium lineup of the Galaxy S and Z series has been well-received in India, contributing to Samsung’s market share expansion.
MediaTek held its annual executive summit in Laguna Niguel, California, recently.
Key announcements emphasized on the company’s premium AI-driven and custom SoC (ASICs) strategy.
The new connectivity solutions from Wi-Fi 7 chips to 5G and 5G RedCap thin modems underlined its IoT strategy and momentum.
Other highlights included key partnerships and design wins – Meta for AR headset, NVIDIA for automotive and ARM for smartphones.
Counterpoint analysts attended MediaTek’s annual executive summit in Laguna Niguel, California, recently, spending time with key company executives CEO Rick Tsai, CFO David Ku, Corp VP Vince Hu, CTO Kevin Jou, SVP JC Hsu, GM & VP Marketing Finbarr Moynihan and partners and customers. The keynotes delivered centered around MediaTek’s incredible progress over the last five years and what is in store for the next five years.
WATCH: MediaTek Executive Summit 2023: AI Across Segments To Drive Business Growth
Last five years:
MediaTek has raised its profile and performance over the last five years.
The company’s revenues are up 2x, gross margins have increased by around 48%, and marquee partnerships and product announcements have gone up.
MediaTek’s performance in “handsets”, its largest revenue segment, has been healthy since the pandemic and onset of the 5G era, leading the market in terms of unit volume share (see here: Smartphone AP/SoC Market Share by Quarter).
More than 2 billion MediaTek chipset-powered devices are being shipped every year.
MediaTek has spent nearly $18 billion in R&D over the last five years, helping it advance in areas of on-device AI and connectivity, and diversify into newer areas such as auto, wearables, 5G FWA and Chromebooks.
Next Five Years:
MediaTek has laid out its key focus areas for the next five years, and obviously, they revolve around “Ubiquitous data processing (AI) and ubiquitous transmission (“fast connectivity 5G, Wi-Fi 7, NTN”)
MediaTek is focusing on “Ubiquitous AI” to power advanced silicon compute needs across smartphones, automotive, XR, enterprise, cloud and industrial applications.
The company has also been heavily focusing on the custom silicon (ASIC) market.
MediaTek’s ASIC business is one of its less talked about success stories of working with multiple clients across multiple applications. For example, Sony for PlayStation VR2, Sony Premium Headset WH-1000XM5, Logitech, Juniper Networks Networking chip, Kontron SOM, BARCO and Advantech gateways.
The company shipped its One Billionth Consumer ASIC this year with a more than 80% increase in design wins in 2023.
MediaTek expects 200% revenue growth in the next two years for Edge AI custom ASIC chips.
One of the key announcements at the summit was MediaTek’s partnership with Meta to build custom ASIC for Meta’s future AR glasses.
The company believes its third-generation flagship SoC, the Dimensity 9300, will garner over $1 billion in revenues.
vivo’s new flagship smartphone X100 is the first device to sport the Dimensity 9300. Launched in the China market, its initial reviews are super-encouraging.
There was a discussion about how the company would get paid for AI and for improving AI models. For now, it is higher ASPs from its hardware. But it is early in the AI journey and things could change. The entire tech industry is exploring how it will monetize the generative AI wave.
The key takeaway was MediaTek’s AI strategy with its seventh-generation APU which can handle up to 33 billion parameters LLM, much more than the competition.
The company is also working on AI software tools, stack and ecosystem partners to allow OEMs and partners to leverage the compute capability via its NeuroPilot Stack.
The foundry diversification strategy continues. Taiwan-based MediaTek has a strong relationship with Taiwan-based TSMC. It will continue to focus on leading-node production within TSMC. However, it is open to further diversification and US contracts are on the table.
The company is excited about its solutions for the automotive segment. MediaTek has partnered with NVIDIA for automotive with each company playing to its strengths. For MediaTek, this means providing cellular connectivity including 5G, Wi-Fi and infotainment solutions. The company emphasized this is a high-ASP, 3nm solution to support the latest in connectivity and high-end gaming (think ray tracing). The company is focused on the China EV market, which is already the largest market in the world and also the most competitive. MediaTek has ambitions to eventually have an ADAS solution.
The Chromebook market has been a blue-ocean opportunity for MediaTek to enter the PC market. The company believes it is going to be a natural progression to the Arm-based AI PC market in the coming years.
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OpenAI Saga: UNO Game and What it Means For AI
Authors: Yang Wang, Senior Analyst; Wei Sun, AI Senior Analyst
The ongoing disruption at OpenAI highlights fundamental issues with how AI is being developed and managed, and indeed technology management more broadly. What has been exposed are the philosophical tensions between the ideas of Superalignment and Effective Accelerationism (e/Acc). Or to put it in blunter terms – ‘Doomers’ versus ‘Boomers’.
• The Game: Sam Altman, the board, the firing • First ‘reverse’ card: Altman tries to fire back • Second ‘reverse’ card: Sutskever regrets decision to vote against Altman • Third ‘reverse’ card: Board hires new CEO • Fourth ‘reverse’ card: Altman hired by Microsoft • The Wild Card #1: Anthropic • The Wild Card #2: Adam D’Angelo • ‘UNO!’ – The final card is played…or is it?
• Mismatch between “non-profit” and “for-profit” • Conflict between Superalignment and E/Acc • The paradox of the Superalignment problem • Doomer vs Boomer • Role of Regulation • “Chaos is a ladder”: Microsoft’s master move • AI companies are nothing without their talent; hiring wars surface • Agent X and the role of the public square
Bangladesh’s smartphone shipments are expected to fall 19% YoY in 2023, dipping for the second time in the last three years.
High installed base opportunity, easing economic pressures, rise in the value of local currency, and digitalization will boost the smartphone market in the coming years.
The market is expected to grow by 17% YoY in 2024.
Bangladesh’s smartphone shipments are expected to fall 19% in 2023, their highest-ever annual decline, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Outlook. Also, this will be the second consecutive year of a double-digit decline. Economic headwinds in the country, including persistent high inflation and currency depreciation, are affecting the smartphone market. An increase in the value-added tax (VAT) on handsets and a growing grey market are among the other factors contributing to the decline.
More than 98% of Bangladesh’s smartphone demand is met by its strong local manufacturing base, with components mostly imported from China. However, at the beginning of 2023, the Russia-Ukraine war affected the country’s component supply chain. At the same time, the rise in the dollar exchange value caused by rising inflationary pressures increased the cost of smartphone components by more than 25%. Besides, the VAT for manufacturers jumped to 7.5% for the July 2023-June 2024 financial year from 5% in the previous financial year, along with the addition of 5% VAT for distribution and retail revenue. This jump in smartphone costs slowed down the feature phone-to-smartphone migration.
To compound matters, many OEMs are facing difficulties in opening letters of credit (LCs) with domestic and central banks. Businesses have been asked to pay up to 100% of their import payments in advance by domestic banks even as central banks have taken belt-tightening measures due to rising pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves and volatility in the exchange market. Also, assemblers and manufacturers in Bangladesh have been affected by the invasion of grey-market smartphones. As a result, the government is implementing the National Equipment Identity Register (NEIR), a system aimed at stopping the unofficial entry of mobile handsets from other countries.
We believe the pent-up demand for smartphones due to delayed purchases can be fulfilled in 2024 as the macro environment started to show improvements during the second half of 2023. The dollar exchange rate is expected to ease, resulting in a decline in the cost of components and less difficulty in opening LCs. Currently, Bangladesh has an installed base of nearly 60 million smartphones, which will reach 65 million by 2024, mainly driven by first-time smartphone buyers.
In terms of smartphone sales, online share is still less than 10%, which is forecasted to reach 16% by 2024 as consumer trust in e-commerce continues to rise. There are mainstream large e-commerce players for smartphones such as Daraz, Pickaboo and Gadget & Gear that will drive online sales for smartphones as digitalization improves. The smartphone industry is a vital tool for Bangladesh’s digital transformation. It helps in achieving the ‘Smart Bangladesh’ vision by expanding access to digital services. Going forward, the availability of digital services via high-speed networks will be the main driver of smartphone market growth in Bangladesh.
Despite the expected decline in 2023, Bangladesh’s smartphone market has been resilient and is performing better than many other countries in Asia. The high potential installed base, a huge feature phone-to-smartphone migration, availability of new use cases, development of the supply chain and digitalization will continue to grow the market in the longer term. We expect Bangladesh’s smartphone market to grow 17% YoY in 2024.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media, and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
Our analysts are on-site at the Reuters Events’ Automotive USA 2023. Below are their quick notes from Day 1 of the event. Discussions centered on electrification, AI in manufacturing, digital transformation, EV Charging Networks, Monolithic Power Systems, General Motors’ global strategies, in-cabin experiences, EV battery technologies, sustainability, and subscription services. Additionally, we bring you exclusive insights from interviews with Chrysler and Ford, outlining their strategies for revitalization, digital sales, sustainability, and advancements in EV charging networks. Stay tuned for more updates as we delve deeper into these crucial discussions shaping the future of the automotive industry.
Reuters Interview with Chrysler
Revitalizing the Chrysler brand
Aiming to revamp the brand with new EV products and phase out of ICE.
Differentiation in the crowded EV market through sustainable products, design & and customer experience.
Digitizing car sales
Experimenting with digital sales and onboarding processes.
Dealerships may need to rethink their approach by creating value, not extracting margins.
Brand expansion and tech sharing
Moving beyond sedans with a new concept to be revealed early next year.
Could leverage Sterling’s global reach and tech across Europe.
Reuters Interview with Ford
Green policy retreat across Europe and the US
Highlights the need for stable policies.
Importance of aligning policy with market needs and compelling products.
Energy policy, efficiency, and tech adoption
Ford shifting to hybrid technology, prioritizing customer choice and sustainability.
Electrification is especially compelling for commercial customers who demand lower maintenance costs and efficient operations.
EV supply chains and investor expectations
EV supply chains different from ICE – need support for less China-centricity, infra development, and manufacturing diversification.
OEMs investing in organizations and partnerships to track and trace raw materials, share best practices and improve capital efficiency.
Investors expect Ford to prioritize climate goals, despite market volatility.
Sustainability and safety
Ford’s goal to reduce greenhouse gases and supply chain emissions by 76% and 50%, respectively, by 2035.
Driving automation: Prioritizing safety through things like driver engagement monitoring and feedback strategies.
EV Charging Networks
EV charging for commercial fleets
Growing infrastructure while providing savings and reduced maintenance costs.
Commercial customers may not be at the same adoption stage as enterprise customers.
Partnerships with charge point operators (CPOs) and developers for fleets and dual-use trucking clubs crucial for adoption.
Collaboration among industry groups and OEMs is crucial for successful implementation.
OEMs need to adapt relationships with commercial fleets to change the EV landscape and prioritize optimization and uptime.
EV charging tech and standards
Government agencies investing in infra; OEMs can participate by treating stations like vending machines to generate revenue.
Consumer feedback is crucial in location identification – providing this to CPOs can help them make more profitable decisions.
Standardization and interoperability; and relatedly, collaboration between policymakers, regulators and industry players for the democratization of infra.
Monolithic Power Systems: Innovation in Power Management for SDVs
Software-defined vehicles (SDVs) and electrification
Electrification requires fundamental changes in architecture and mindset – helping to drive SDV.
In fact, SDV is becoming the foundation for electrification as it enables communication between vehicles, charging stations and the energy ecosystem.
Current limitations of today’s sensor technologies highlight the need for failsafe thinking and monitoring, especially in areas without camera coverage.
Digital cockpits and centralized compute systems could help further monetization beyond initial vehicle sales – present-day examples include Lane Keeping assistance and software subscriptions.
Consolidating processor types in vehicles
Evolution of automotive chips with a new consolidated ‘super chip’ expected to dominate – existing chips are limited with only top-of-the-line vehicles having advanced video processing; centralized processing still lacking.
Considerations around autonomous driving
Costs to developing in-house, need for tight coordination across software, power vendors and other stakeholders to evolve the ecosystem.
Potential for more frequency of use as ADAS advances also highlights the need for ensuring better reliability in automotive electronics with a 15-year lifespan, mid-lifecycle technology insertion.
Power management and redundancy in electronic systems
Aging is caused by three factors – voltage, current, and temperature.
Reliability, faster device creation, and scalability across entry-level to premium.
Power management in electronics design – intelligent power modules can help manage thermal issues, optimize for high-frequency systems, and provision the ‘battery front end.’
Importance of data gathering to enable machine learning to develop baseline models for aging electronic systems.
Electrification, Infrastructure, and Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry
Electric Vehicle Adoption
Recognizing exposure to electric vehicles as pivotal in encouraging widespread adoption, emphasizing the need for awareness and education.
Underlining the vital role of infrastructure, encompassing reliable charging stations and seamless charging experiences, with a specific focus on accommodating multi-unit dwellings.
Software Development Challenges
Navigating the intricacies of electric vehicle technology and software development, exploring revenue streams through software-defined services like charging and dynamic car insurance.
Addressing the delicate balance between integrating with existing platforms (CarPlay/Android Auto) and crafting personalized end-to-end experiences, prioritizing customer data security and personalization.
Digital Transformation Strategies
Emphasizing collaboration and holistic strategies as the linchpin for successful digital transformation in the automotive sector.
Role of AI and ML in Optimizing Manufacturing Processes
Delving into the applications of AI and ML in predictive maintenance, quality control, and asset condition monitoring, ensuring operational efficiency.
Infrastructure Foundation: Stressing the importance of robust infrastructure as the bedrock for successful digital transformation, requiring thorough assessment and support.
General Motors International Update
– Global Expansion
Outlining General Motors’ strategic re-entry into Europe with an electric vehicle portfolio, leveraging past experiences for efficient global scale entry, with a focus on direct-to-consumer models.
– Market Strategies
Highlighting GM’s successful foray in Australia, unveiling plans to introduce Silverado and Corvette models, and positioning the company in the competitive global pickup truck market.
Advancing the In-cabin Experience Panel
HMI and Software Development for Electric Vehicles
Intuitive Design: Stressing the importance of presenting information in a simple and intuitive manner through Human-Machine Interface (HMI) for software-defined vehicles.
Catering to Diverse Needs: Recognizing the varied needs of different customer segments and geographies when designing infotainment systems, catering to Western and Chinese customer preferences.
Interactive Systems: Addressing the need for interactive and powerful systems adaptable to different consumer generations, citing customer surveys emphasizing the significance of HMI and infotainment systems in purchase decisions.
In-car Entertainment and Technology
Customer Engagement: Capturing customers’ excitement for software updates and immersive experiences, including VR gaming, live sports streaming, and personalized spaces for multi-generational families in China, enhancing in-car entertainment.
EV Battery Discussion
Battery Technology and Supply Chain Challenges
Cathode Innovations: Discussing the focus on cathode mineral selections as EV adoption surges, aiming for low-cost, fast-charging, and high thermal rate batteries.
Solid-state Batteries: Recognizing the potential of solid-state batteries in the industry, coupled with challenges in risk mitigation, efficiency improvement, fast charging, and stability.
Future Challenges: Addressing potential challenges arising from future battery demand outstripping supply, impacting costs and availability, emphasizing the need for scaling and infrastructure development.
Sustainability and Subscription Services
Emphasizing the significance of long-term strategies in the automotive sector, specifically concerning battery warranty and recycling efforts.
Subscription Service Potential
Exploring the potential of subscription services in the automotive industry, including innovative energy subscription packages for electric vehicles, aiming for enhanced customer experiences and sustainable practices.
The Dimensity 9300 is integrated with the 7th-gen APU 790 processor, which supports a broad generative AI ecosystem and models including Meta Llama 2, Baidu ERNIE 3.5 SE and Baichuan 2.
It can run with 13 billion parameters, which are scalable up to 33 billion, on-device at a processing speed of up to 20 tokens per second.
The Dimensity 9300 will debut with the vivo X100 smartphone in mid-November
MediaTek recently launched its third-generation premium chipset Dimensity 9300. The company has emerged as a strong competitor in the premium smartphone chipset market after launching the Dimensity 9000 in Q1 2022. Currently, MediaTek leads the low-mid segment and drives significant volumes both for 4G and 5G in this tier.
Adopting a non-traditional CPU core design, the Dimensity 9300 focuses on raw performance. It has four large cores (Cortex-X4) and four performance cores (Cortex-A720 cores), thus enabling it to excel in raw computing power and advanced AI capabilities.
Dimensity 9300 key specifications
Like the last two generations, the Dimensity 9300 SoC is built on a TSMC 4nm process node. It is more efficient and performs better than the Dimensity 9200. There is a 40% improvement in the multi-core performance and a 15% improvement in the single-core performance. The Dimensity 9300 combines an octa-core CPU with the company’s second-generation hardware raytracing engine, enabling smartphones to achieve console-level global illumination effects at a smooth 60 FPS. Besides, the chipset supports seamless multitasking, allowing users to simultaneously play games and stream videos or watch a video while gaming.
Four ARM Cortex-X4 CPU. Prime core clocked at up to 3.25GHz
Four ARM Cortex-A720 CPU clocked at up to 2.0GHz
7th-gen APU 790 processor
The chip is equipped with MediaTek’s next-generation APU 790 processor, which reduces power consumption by 45% while improving performance. Its processing speed is eight times that of the APU 690. It also offers significant improvements in generative AI performance and energy efficiency for edge computing. The APU 790 is specifically designed for generative AI tasks, marking a substantial upgrade over its predecessor. It accelerates processing through the Transformer model and supports image generation within one second using Stable Diffusion. The APU 790 also supports large language models with up to 33 billion parameters. MediaTek has also implemented mixed-precision INT4 quantization technology and NeuroPilot memory hardware compression to optimize memory usage for large AI models.
The Dimensity 9300 has a strong AI generative ecosystem, which supports language models like Llama 2, Baichuan 2 and Baidu AI LLM. It helps developers to efficiently deploy multi-modal generative AI applications for users.
With the integration of ARM’s latest GPU, the Immortalis-G720, the Dimensity 9300 offers almost a 46% boost in GPU performance and 40% power reduction compared to the Dimensity 9200.
The Dimensity 9300 chipset supports the new Ultra HDR format in Android 14, improving mobile photography with vibrant images and compatible JPEG files. It also offers ambient light adaptive HDR recovery technology for enhanced photography. It supports 100% pixel-level autofocus, dual lossless zoom and 3-microphone HDR audio recording.
The chipset’s display system is equipped with the MiraVision Picture Quality (PQ) engine which dynamically adjusts the contrast, sharpness and color of primary objects, resulting in lifelike video experiences similar to high-end TVs. It uses on-device AI to detect primary objects and background images in real time.
The Dimensity 9300 offers Wi-Fi 7 speeds up to 6.5 Gbps and improved long-range connectivity with Xtra Range 2.0 Technology. It also enhances smartphone tethering speeds by up to three times using Multi-Link Hotspot technology. The Dimensity 9300 also supports up to three Bluetooth antennas and features dual Bluetooth flash connection technology for an ultra-low latency Bluetooth audio experience.
DRAM support and security
The Dimensity 9300 is the first SoC that supports the LPDDR5T up to 9600 Mbps. Also, it integrates two SUPs, one for boot security and one for computing security.
Dimensity 9300 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
In terms of specifications, the Dimensity 9300 uses all big core architecture 4 prime cores (Cortex-X4) and 4 big cores (Cortex-A720), whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 uses one prime (Cortex-X4), five big (Cortex-A720) and two small cores (Cortex-A520). MediaTek with its all-big core design is addressing generative AI and gaming applications. On paper, the Dimensity 9300’s AI performance is competitive. The Dimensity 9300 supports large language models that can run with 13 billion parameters, whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 can run with 10 billion parameters on-device.
The fact that MediaTek now offers performance and efficiency gains that are comparable to Qualcomm’s latest-generation flagship offerings, shows MediaTek wants to directly compete with Qualcomm in the premium segment. Overall, this is going to be a win-win for the industry, as it will raise the bar and, in turn, benefit the end users.
The vivo X100 will be the first smartphone to carry the Dimensity 9300 chipset. It will be available in the market by the end of 2023. We expect that the Dimensity 9300 will have better adoption among Chinese OEMs compared to the Dimensity 9200. China will be the first target market for smartphones with the Dimensity 9300, followed by India, SEA and Europe.
The industry’s first 3nm-powered SoC A17 Pro, innovative 5x telephoto camera, and a redesigned titanium central panel are major areas of BoM cost increase.
Memory and display are among the areas where cost has fallen.
Share of Apple’s self-designed components has increased to 25% of the total BoM cost.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple’s most advanced flagship model to date. It nicely segments the portfolio for Apple’s power users who are always looking out for the best iPhone experience. Apple has differentiated its top model with the most advanced processor, a unique telephoto camera system and a lighter titanium-based casing design. This has also made the iPhone 15 Pro Max costlier than its predecessor.
The total bill of materials (BoM) cost to produce an 8GB+256GB iPhone 15 Pro Max comes to $37.7 or 8% higher than that for the 6GB+256GB iPhone 14 Pro Max launched last year, according to Counterpoint Research’s Teardown and BoM Analysis Service. With an increase of $100 in the starting retail price, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to give Apple more profit as it has the highest gross margin in the iPhone 15 family, despite being the costliest model.
Where the costs have risen
First 3nm process-powered application processor: Apple’s new-generation mobile platform, the A17 Pro, uses TSMC’s most advanced 3nm fabrication technology and packs more than 19 billion transistors in a die, 18% more than that of the A16 Bionic. Thanks to the improved 6-core GPU architecture, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s GPU performance is 20% faster. As a result, the A17 Pro can deliver vastly improved gaming performance with a breakthrough in enabling real-time 3D ray tracing. However, this SoC upgrade has resulted in a cost increase of around $30 compared with the A16.
Apple’s first 5x telephoto camera: Another notable upgrade is the 5x telephoto camera featuring an equivalent 120mm focal length. This camera consists of a quadruple reflection prism that enables light rays to bounce four times, allowing users to capture sharper close-up shots from greater distances. Lante Optics is the primary supplier of this prism. Additionally, to match the new telephoto system, Apple has designed the 3D sensor-shift OIS in this camera which can make up to 10,000 micro-adjustments per second, enabling users to capture clearer, sharper photos and more stable videos. The development and assembly of the stabilization mechanism involved a collective effort from Cirrus Logic and LG Innotek. The overall cost of the camera system in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is 34% costlier than that of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Titanium alloy casing: Apple has adopted a titanium alloy in the iPhone 15 Pro Max casing frame, which has reduced the device’s weight by around 20 g, making it the lightest Pro Max model ever. The cost of the new casing in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is 18% higher than that of the 14 Pro Max.
Where the costs have fallen
Memory: Apple has upgraded the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s DRAM to 8GB, which is 2GB higher than that of its predecessor. However, the global memory market was in a downtrend from Q4 2022 to Q3 2023, both DRAM and NAND flash prices have decreased by more than 30%. This has worked in favor of Apple, helping it offset some of the other cost increases as the contribution of memory chips dropped by 34% compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Display: The display price is also in a downtrend. Apart from Samsung Display, LG Display has also started supplying iPhone LTPO displays. This has contributed to a reduction in display costs by 4% in the iPhone 15 Pro Max compared to that of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Rising share of self-designed components
Apple’s vertical ambitions are evident as its self-designed components, such as the processor, the upgraded UWB and power management ICs, are playing an increasingly significant role in the overall BoM cost of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, garnering Apple great economies of scale and control over the performance and end-user experience. Our estimates indicate that these self-designed components account for 25% of the total BoM cost of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, up from 22% in the iPhone 14 Pro Max last year.
Apple has grown to a level where it has significant control over design, innovation, scalability, costs and profits of the entire iPhone and the other products in its portfolio.
This is helping Apple with differentiation and is also allowing it to exercise not only significant selling power but also buying power through great vertical design expertise and sourcing of components.
Also, having the most powerful smartphone SoC manufactured at the most advanced process node has allowed Apple to design an SoC with high-performance CPU, pro-class GPU and dedicated neural engines to build pervasive AI experiences, efficiently blending with its vertical software (OS) capability and (apps) ecosystem.
Apple is, thus, raising the table stakes for competition with its flagship, which is set to be the most lucrative iPhone in terms of top line and bottom line.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
The Xiaomi 14 series is among the first devices to use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
Xiaomi’s new HyperOS is set to replace the current MIUI system.
The emphasis on AI integration is set to become the next pivotal point of differentiation for smartphone OEMs.
Xiaomi unveiled its latest flagship smartphone series, the Xiaomi 14 and 14 Pro, along with its self-developed HyperOS and a slew of AIoT products at an event held in Beijing recently. During the event, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun announced the company’s new strategy of creating a ‘Human X Car X Home’ smart ecosystem centered around people, which is made possible by the support of HyperOS. Xiaomi’s ambition is to further solidify its position in smartphones and IoT, while seamlessly integrating Xiaomi cars into its smart ecosystem to create a comprehensive and user-friendly experience for Xiaomi users.
The Xiaomi 14 series is the first set of commercialized devices to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The new series upholds its tradition of being a compact flagship, featuring a 6.3-inch screen for the Xiaomi 14 and a 6.7-inch screen for the Xiaomi 14 Pro. Their ultra-thin bezel design allows for a larger screen-to-body ratio and a minimalist look. Both models boast a peak brightness of 3,000 nits and LTPO displays with 1-120 Hz adaptive refresh rates.
Imaging has always been Xiaomi’s flagship series’ strong suit and its commitment to superior imaging capabilities continues with the Xiaomi 14 series. The series employs a Leica Summilux lens in conjunction with the Light Hunter 900 sensor, increasing light intake by up to 180% compared to the Xiaomi 13 series. This enhancement results in richer colors and improved night photography.
Despite many upgrades, the Xiaomi 14 series maintains its competitive pricing, with the standard version now offering 256 GB of storage while retaining the starting price of RMB 3,999 for the Xiaomi 14 and RMB 4,999 for the Xiaomi 14 Pro.
Xiaomi’s self-developed HyperOS was another highlight of the event. HyperOS, which Xiaomi developed over seven years, is set to replace the current MIUI system. The aim of this OS is to provide a more user-friendly and unified OS, capable of supporting a range of smart devices from smartphones and smartwatches to smart home products and even cars. An exciting feature of this new OS is its ability to integrate more AI features into the device. The Xiaomi 14 series will be among the initial devices to explore these features.
Xiaomi displayed some interesting AI applications during the launch event. Using its AI-generated text feature, the smartphones can create text for speeches, generate user reviews and craft New Year wishes in the blink of an eye. HyperOS seamlessly incorporates AI into WPS (the Chinese version of Office), enabling document scanning, key point summarization, and instant conversion to PPT. It can also enhance daily productivity by recording meetings, creating meeting summaries, doing real-time translation, and more.
Furthermore, HyperOS facilitates creative generative AI photo capabilities. Smartphones will now be able to analyze facial features from photos and generate a digital figure. This unique digital figure can then be customized to create new images, whether you want to dress it in traditional costumes or have it appear in front of iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. It also provides the capability for image expansion, allowing you to enlarge the current image to create a larger image with a more expansive background. The image search function is also greatly simplified, making it easier to find your pictures in your photo gallery through more refined searches than before.
These AI features are just the beginning of the changes in the way we interact with our smartphones. As AI technology continues to develop, we expect smartphone OEMs will find more innovative ways to integrate AI into their devices. This emphasis on AI integration is set to become the next pivotal point of differentiation for smartphone OEMs.
Total revenues declined by 24% annually in Q3 2023 to reach $8.6 billion. The revenues slightly increased sequentially due to the recovery in the smartphone market and improving channel inventory.
The company’s handsets business captured revenues of $5.5 billion, declining 27% annually but growing 4% sequentially.
Overall, we expect the premium handset market to drive revenues for Qualcomm while focusing on mixed shifts toward the low- to mid-end 5G market will drive further growth.
Qualcomm’s total revenue in Q3 2023 declined 24% YoY to reach $8.6 billion. However, the revenue increased slightly QoQ due to recovery in the smartphone market and improving channel inventory. The company’s handset-related business grew 4% sequentially on recovering Android demand.
During the earnings call, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Renno Amon discussed the company’s performance and outlook on key areas like ARM PC and Huawei comeback.
ARM-based PC opportunity
CEO Cristiano Renno Amon: “…I think Snapdragon X Elite represents the results of this Microsoft-Qualcomm collaboration… if you look at the announcements of other computing companies talking about having an ARM-based PC processor, that is validation that that’s our TAM now. It is going to be part of the expansion of TAM for Qualcomm. We are a new player, and we look at this as a growth opportunity. We are excited about it.”
Analyst take: The AI PC market is witnessing a surge, underpinned by Intel and Qualcomm’s new PC CPU platform, which is just around the corner. These AI-enabled PCs will likely be available around mid-2024. We expect AI PCs to have an over 50% 10-year CAGR from 2020, and after 2026, they will dominate the PC market. Intel, Qualcomm and other PC CPU makers are working closely with PC OEMs for the next-generation mainstream models, marking a new chapter for the PC industry.
Outlook and headwinds
CEO Cristiano Renno Amon: “…as we indicated in the last earnings call, …we don’t have any more projection of selling our 4G… SoCs to Huawei. And going forward, we do not expect (it) to have any significance – it’s going to be a very small contribution from Huawei. I think the more interesting answer to your question, and that’s the reason I provide the 35% data point (QCT handset forecast includes sequential revenue growth of greater than 35% from Chinese OEMs), is as Huawei launched the device, what we are seeing from our customers is …growth… on the Android side. We see a mixed improvement of our customers, moving towards flagship, and it’s kind of reflected in our numbers. So it does not change the trajectory that we have with our Android customers in China. And there is a possibility that Huawei is upgrading its existing customer base. There was a data point – there are about 100 million Huawei former customers with a 4- to 5-year-old Huawei phone, and that could have an impact on increasing the TAM.”
Analyst take: Qualcomm did not consider any material revenues from Huawei due to Huawei’s in-house chipset adoption. Huawei’s aggressive comeback will increase competition in the Chinese market and affect the overall 5G TAM. However, sequential revenue growth from Chinese OEMs and increased silicon content because of AI adoption will have a positive impact on the blended ASP and units.
CEO Cristiano Renno Amon: “…in fiscal ’23 that just ended, we had a share increase both globally and in China of sell-through. And we like, I think, the direction that we have been going …as we said, we will continue to retain a majority share at Samsung. We feel good about that relationship going forward. And we have seen traction from premium and high-tier Chinese OEMs. This is in spite of the launch of and the successful initial sales of a newcomer. And that’s kind of also reflected in the sequential 35% growth.”
Analyst take: With the launch of the Exynos 2400, Samsung may adopt an in-house chipset in its Galaxy S series. However, Qualcomm has highlighted it will have the majority share in the Samsung flagship. Based on our smartphone sell-through tracker, Qualcomm leads the Chinese market and has increased its share in the past few quarters. Overall, we expect the premium market to drive revenues for Qualcomm while focusing on mixed shifts toward the low- to mid-end 5G market will drive further growth.
Signs of recovery: Total revenues declined by 24% annually in Q3 2023 to reach $8.6 billion. The revenues slightly increased sequentially due to the recovery in the smartphone market and improving channel inventory.
Handset revenues increased sequentially: The company’s handsets business captured revenues of $5.5 billion, declining 27% annually. The segment grew 4% sequentially due to the early stages of recovery in Android demand.
IoT revenues decline: IoT revenues were recorded at $1.4 billion, declining 7% sequentially due to the weak demand from industrial IoT customers and inventory drawdown.
Auto revenues: Auto revenues in Q3 2023 grew 23% sequentially to reach $535 million. The company has expanded its auto platform by entering two-wheelers and having design wins with Gogoro, Harley-Davidson and others. Qualcomm has also entered into a strategic partnership with AWS to integrate cloud and AI into vehicle development.
Agreement with Apple: Apple and Qualcomm have reached an agreement to supply Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF systems for smartphone launches in 2024, 2025 and 2026, reinforcing their ongoing relationship. The iPhone model launched in 2026 will have a 20% Qualcomm baseband share.
Inventory turnover: Inventory levels are coming down to a normal level. We expect the overall inventory environment to reach normal levels by the end of Q1 2024.
Positive outlook for Q4 due to seasonality: For Q4 2023, Qualcomm guided revenues to be between $9.1 billion and $9.9 billion, growing 5%-15% sequentially. The company forecasted a sequential double-digit growth in handset revenues in Q4 2023, driven by launches in the premium segment and seasonality.
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