Smartphones with fast charging (>10 watts) accounted for almost 80% of global smartphone sales in Q1 2023, compared to 74% in Q1 2022.
In Q1 2023, the average power for fast-charging smartphones globally reached 34W, compared to 30W in Q1 2022.
Chinese smartphone brands are leading this trend by introducing higher-wattage charging across different price points.
London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – July 20, 2023
Sales of fast charging-capable (>10 watts) smartphones accounted for almost 80% of the global smartphone market in Q1 2023, compared to 74% in Q1 2022 and 29% in Q1 2018, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Quarterly Smartphone Fast Charging Report. The increasing adoption of fast charging-capable smartphones is attributed to growing smartphone usage and continuous advancements in hardware.
Need for fast charging
Nearly half of all smartphone users spend at least five hours a day on their devices.
They use the smartphone to stay connected with friends and family, browse the internet, stream content, and play games.
Besides, advances in smartphone technology, such as the widespread adoption of 5G connectivity and improvements in cameras, displays and processors, have increased the smartphone’s power requirement while enhancing the overall user experience.
These factors have, in turn, led to the demand for smartphones that can be charged faster to ensure uninterrupted usage for at least a full day. As a result, smartphone brands have recognized the importance of fast-charging capabilities and started to embed them in their portfolios.
Fast charging differentiating feature for smartphone brands
Smartphone brands are focusing on making the fast-charging technology affordable. Smartphone brands are embedding fast charging into their lower-priced models as a differentiating factor. While fast charging has already become a standard feature in the >$200 price segment, smartphone brands are now focusing on providing higher-power charging in this segment to achieve the fastest charging speeds. In Q1 2023, the average power for fast-charging smartphones globally reached 34W, compared to 30W in Q1 2022 and 18W in Q1 2018. Smartphones capable of delivering more than 30W can fully charge a completely drained phone in approximately an hour. Charging a smartphone within an hour can be a compelling selling point for smartphone brands.
Chinese smartphone brands are leading this trend by also introducing higher-wattage charging across different price points, especially in the Chinese market where the average power is 50W. On the other hand, brands like Apple and Samsung have focused more on prioritizing battery safety and overall performance over pushing for higher-power chargers.
A few years ago, it was common for smartphones to require hours to charge. But now it has become the norm for recharging to be accomplished in an hour or less, with the fastest achieving a full charge from empty in a few minutes. However, the race to provide faster charging has reached a point of diminishing returns and we expect a shift in emphasis toward other areas of technology in the smartphone in coming years.
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.
It was yet another busy day in chilly Barcelona with some interesting announcements. Nothing revealed details of its upcoming smartphone, realme announced the GT3 240W with the fastest charging tech, TECNO showed off its folding smartphone, Oasis Smart-SIM showcased its CloudSIM™ solution, and much more. Below is our quick summary of the announcements from Day 2 of the MWC 2023:
TECNO joins the foldable revolution
TECNO made its MWC debut launching several products, including the Phantom V Fold, Spark 10 Pro selfie phone and Megabook S1 2023 laptop. Of course, the standout product announced at the event was the TECNO Phantom V Fold book-type foldable smartphone. Under the hood is a MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ SoC, making it the second folding smartphone powered by MediaTek SoC after the OPPO Find N2.
The smartphone features a 6.42-inch 120Hz LTPO AMOLED cover screen and a 7.85-inch 2K 120Hz LTPO folding display inside, which is bigger than the Galaxy Z Fold4. It comes with a 5,000mAh battery and 45W fast charging. The TECNO Phantom V fold will first launch in India at a price of $1,099 for the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage version, making it the most affordable book-type folding smartphone. There will also be a 512GB storage version priced at $1,222.
The Africa market, where TECNO is the #1 brand, is relatively dominated by the low-end segment. Expansion to overseas markets, where consumers are ready to pay a more premium amount, has also presented an opportunity for TECNO to launch devices in higher price bands. For that, foldables currently seem to be the perfect option to make a statement in the premium segment. Since it is a new segment, OEMs also have opportunities to launch products at new price points. The debut of its foldable at the MWC 2023 cements TECNO’s global aspirations.
realme GT3 240W brings the fastest charging tech to smartphones
realme is holding true to its ‘Dare to leap’ motto. In 2022, it was the first OEM to offer a 150W charging-capable smartphone. The company is pushing the boundaries further and has now become the first brand to introduce a 240W-capable smartphone. At the MWC 2023, realme announced its latest phone, the GT3, featuring 240W charging capability. According to the realme presentation, the 240W technology is capable of fully charging the GT3’s 4,600mAh battery in roughly 10 minutes, and it can charge to 50% capacity in just four minutes.
GT3 is the fastest phone in the industry to charge from 0 to 20% in only 80 seconds, which realme showcased in the real-time demo during the MWC announcement. realme also claims this is the industry’s fastest charging speed while gaming. A vapor chamber liquid cooling system takes care of the overall health of the battery by reducing extra heat produced during fast charge. realme added multiple sensors and a fireproof design to the new device while also addressing the major issue of battery longevity, which reduces due to fast charge. The GT3’s battery can be at 80% battery health after 1,600 charging cycles which is double the industry standard of 800 cycles. The realme GT3 price starts at $649 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage variant.
Oasis Smart-SIM demonstrates new CloudSIM™ solution
At the MWC 2023, Oasis Smart-SIM and TATA Communications jointly revealed their latest innovation, the CloudSIM™. It is a remote hardware SIM which is stored in a dedicated, secure, GSMA-certified environment. CloudSIM™ is primarily aimed at use cases that do not require permanent connectivity. The overall cost of connectivity is reduced by limiting the number of profiles required for fleet operations and providing on-demand connectivity. The below video demonstrates some of the key use cases of the CloudSIM™ solution.
Nothing Phone (2) to be powered by Qualcomm flagship SoC
Nothing made a small announcement at the MWC 2023 about its upcoming smartphone. While it did not reveal much, the company did mention that the next smartphone will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series chipset. This will be a big upgrade from the existing 7-series SoC on the Nothing Phone (1). However, Nothing did not mention which chipset it will be using, so it could be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or could also be last year’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. Looks like we will have to await further details.
Thales launches the world’s first GSMA-certified iSIM with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon mobile platform
Thales has announced that its integrated SIM (iSIM) solution has now been certified by the GSMA and is ready to be deployed commercially with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform. In 2021, Thales, Vodafone and Qualcomm had shown a working demonstration of the iSIM.
What is iSIM? And why is it important?
iSIM is a type of SIM that is directly integrated into the processor of the device. As the next step of SIM evolution, iSIM offers significantly more space reduction than eSIMs do and lowers power consumption. This is also part of a bigger trend where we have seen multiple components, such as the modem, getting integrated into the processor of the device. Along with smartphones, iSIMs also bring multiple benefits to the IoT ecosystem.
Currently, around 20% of smartphones shipped in 2022 were eSIM capable. The adoption of eSIM in smartphones has been slower than what was expected three years ago due to a variety of reasons. However, the biggest hurdle has been the need for additional components required to add eSIM capability.
For iSIMs, it would be a different case because the SIM is integrated into the processor and its adoption, unlike the eSIM, will be dependent on the support of chipsets. The iSIM will see faster adoption than the eSIM because the number of players providing chipsets is limited. While we have already seen multiple IoT devices with iSIM, the first iSIM smartphone is expected in 2024.
Huawei Watch GT Cyber gets an extreme makeover
Huawei showcased its Watch GT Cyber, which is already available in China since November 2022. The smartwatch comes with interchangeable cases, and the display updates when inserted into a new case. It uses magnets along with mechanical parts to remain connected with the cases. The concept is similar to smart bands with changeable straps but with innovation that makes the whole watch body different. We will have to see if Huawei allows third-party case makers to function with the smartwatch.
The Huawei Watch GT Cyber flaunts a 1.32-inch circular display with a resolution of 466x466pixels and a pixel density of 352ppi. It is water resistant up to 5ATM and comes with all the regular sensors like a barometer and magnetometer. The battery can last up to seven days on a single charge. It also has a Bluetooth calling feature.
Huawei showcases the 5.5G era and its use cases
With 5.5G, Huawei aims to offer 10X better performance over 5G, and thus create 100-fold business opportunities by opening up five frontiers:
1) Expansion in services with immersive and interactive experiences
Online 3D malls and 24K VR gaming to become mainstream. While 5G allows these use cases, 5.5G will enhance them. Huawei expects over one billion users.
2) Enable industry digitalization
Huawei expects private networks to increase 10x as the tech becomes more capable. It forecasts one million private 5G networks by 2030.
3) Cloud applications entering a new era, creating new opportunities for network connectivity
The company aims to reduce latency which will further make cloud applications more reliable and accessible.
4) Cellular networks cover all IoT applications and passive IoT enables 100 billion connections
Passive IoT tags (e.g. RFID) will allow further solutions to better warehouse management, asset tracking, and other scenarios. Huawei expects 100 billion passive IoT tags per year from 30 billion in coming years as industries get more digital.
5) From communication to integrated sensing and communication, facilitating new services
Huawei aims to develop a more connected world using the sensing capabilities of 5.5G. It would help bring up information about areas where cameras are unable to work like during fog or rain. This would make transportation much safer.
With inputs from Varun Mishra, Karn Chauhan, Ankit Malhotra and Harshit Rastogi. This is a developing post…….
Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, vivo and OPPO are betting big on fast-charging smartphones. They have released models that support more than 65W fast charging, while Samsung and Apple’s models usually support 20W-45W. The new technology has become one of the differentiating marketing factors in the smartphone market, thanks to the increasing battery consumption due to the expanding size of displays and increasing 5G adoption. Higher battery consumption gradually increases battery capacity, which in turn increases charging time.
The display size affects the battery consumption a lot. The larger the display size, the more the battery consumption. Sales of smartphones with over 6.5-inch displays increased in 2021 compared to 2020 as more consumers watched video clips or played games on their smartphones. The proportion of 6.1-6.4-inch smartphones, which accounted for the largest sales in 2020, decreased from 40% to 28% while that of 6.5-inch smartphones, which was only about 28% in 2020, increased to 40% in 2021.
Smartphone Sales Share by Display Size and Battery Capacity
Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Smartphone Tracker
The increasing 5G smartphone penetration is also increasing the battery capacity. Usually, 5G phones consume more battery than 4G phones. 5G smartphones, which accounted for only 18% of total smartphone sales in 2020, reached 40% in 2021. As 5G services are now being rapidly introduced in emerging countries such as those in South America and the Middle East, and in India, the battery capacity of major smartphone models is gradually increasing. The sales proportion of smartphones with a battery capacity of 3000 mAh-4000 mAh fell from 44% in 2020 to 35% in 2021, while the sales proportion of smartphones with large battery capacities of 4000 mAh-5000 mAh increased from 25% in 2020 to 40% in 2021.
Since charging time increases with battery capacity, fast charging has become one of the noticeable marketing points. With OEMs using different fast-charging techniques and technologies, the charging speed of their models differs. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 supports 25W while the S22+ and S22 Ultra support 45W charging speed. Similarly, the iPhone 13 series, except for the iPhone 13 mini, supports 23W charging speed. On the other hand, Chinese OEMs’ latest models can support 65W or even higher. The vivo iQoo Neo 6, released in April, can be charged up to 80% in 20 minutes.
Chinese OEMs’ New Fast-charging Smartphone Models
Sources: Official websites
Chinese OEMs focus on higher levels of fast charging more than Samsung and Apple as they have been actively adopting large-size displays and large-capacity batteries for differentiating their specifications. However, fast charging should solve the overheating problem. If not, it could cause unexpected accidents like battery explosions. This is the reason why Samsung and Apple, which put more weight on stability, are maintaining a conservative position on fast charging, unlike Chinese OEMs.
Smartphones have become a big part of our daily lives. From advanced processing power to vivid high-refresh-rate displays and stunning cameras, there is a lot that modern smartphones offer. But whether you are at home, in office, or traveling, it is the battery that decides your smartphone’s ability to communicate, complete a transaction, or click photos at any given time.
Smartphone battery technology has evolved over the years. Smartphones now pack higher capacity batteries along with faster charging speeds and more. But when choosing a smartphone, the only available battery capacity information is the mAh (or milliamp hours) number, which is not enough. So, what are the other battery parameters that one should look for when buying a new smartphone?
In the latest episode of the ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson is joined by special guest Olivier Simon, DXOMARK’s battery unit director. Olivier shares some insights on DXOMARK’s smartphone battery evaluation, factors that affect battery life, and more. Olivier further deep dives to explain what mAh and watt mean and how do they translate into the experience when it comes to smartphone battery life. He also has some tips for OEMs on how to design smartphones keeping the battery aspect in mind. For consumers too, he has some advice on how to buy a smartphone with a battery life that fits their needs.
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