US Smartphone Shipments Decline 19% YoY in Q3 2023 as More Americans Delay Smartphone Upgrade

  • US smartphone shipments declined YoY for the fourth straight quarter in Q3 2023 amid weak consumer demand. 
  • Google, Samsung and TCL were among the brands recording the steepest YoY declines, while Motorola and Nokia HMD managed growth amid a challenging market environment.  
  • Apple’s iPhone shipments declined 11% YoY, in part due to the later launch date of the iPhone 15 series compared to the iPhone 14 series.  
  • Weak upgrade rates at the carriers were the main source of weak smartphone shipments, signaling that consumers are opting to hold on to their devices for longer. 

Denver, Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – November 1, 2023 

US smartphone shipments declined 19% in Q3 2023, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor data. Samsung, Google, and TCL saw steep declines of 26%, 37% and 51%, respectively, in their smartphone shipments. However, Motorola and Nokia HMD managed to increase their shipments by 31% and 17%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Apple’s shipments were down 11% compared to Q3 2022, part of which is attributable to the later launch date of the iPhone 15 series compared to the iPhone 14 series, which pushed some shipments into Q4 2023.  

Commenting on the Q3 2023 performance, Research Analyst Matthew Orf said, “OEMs were cautious to increase their shipments during the quarter as consumer demand remained low. While upgrade rates were slightly up at the carriers when compared to last quarter, they remained much below their usual levels as consumers opted to hold on to their devices for longer instead of upgrading. Improved durability with stronger build quality, less impressive upgrades among new smartphone releases, and an uncertain macroeconomic environment have all contributed to the malaise we are seeing in the US smartphone market.”  

Senior Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne said, “Despite the 19% decline in overall smartphone shipments, there were some brands that saw growth. Motorola and Nokia HMD were able to buck the market trend and achieve growth with refreshed portfolios and stronger presence in prepaid and national retail channels. Samsung and TCL struggled in the low end of the market with devices approaching their end of life (EOL).” 

On foldables market trend, Klaehne said, “Foldables are one potential bright spot in the US smartphone market, with increasing number of Android foldables options. Samsung launched its Galaxy Z Flip and Fold 5 in August, while OnePlus launched its first foldable and Motorola launched the sub-$900 Motorola Raz 2023 in early Q4 2023.” 

Commenting on the prepaid and postpaid market landscape, Associate Director Hanish Bhatia said, “Postpaid carriers continue to face strong competition from cable players Spectrum and Xfinity. This is driven by aggressive promotions and bundling of mobile with broadband. Verizon has been on the back foot but scaling its 5G mid-band coverage quickly in 2023-24. On the prepaid side, H1 2023 saw a lot of action with T-Mobile’s acquisition of Mint Mobile, Verizon losing TracFone subscribers while expanding Total Wireless’ retail footprint, Dish consolidating its prepaid brand portfolio, and new MVNOs entering the retail landscape.”  

Commenting on the iPhone 15 launch and overall market outlook, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “Despite the carriers continuing to offer strong promotions through the quarter, upgrade rates at the carriers remained near record lows. We expect a seasonal rebound in upgrade rates during the fourth quarter, but they are likely to remain lower than in the same period last year. There is a large installed base of iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users in the US that is likely to upgrade to the iPhone 15 series this year. But while we saw the usual high wait times for the iPhone 15 series at launch, they came back down to earth quicker than for the iPhone 14 series, which could signal that the slump in consumer smartphone demand will extend to the iPhone 15 in Q4 2023.” 


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. 

Analyst Contacts 

Matthew Orf

Maurice Klaehne

Hanish Bhatia

Jeff Fieldhack

Follow Counterpoint Research


Saudi Arabia Smartphone Shipments Grow 35% YoY in Q2 2023 on Strong Ramadan Sales

  • Q2 was the market’s second consecutive quarter of growth, as the macroeconomic environment remained relatively positive largely due to the robust performance of the non-oil sector.
  • There was a noticeable improvement in consumer sentiment compared to 2022, as evidenced by the strong Ramadan sales season this year.
  • Samsung and Apple continue to lead the market in Q2 2023.

Saudi Arabia’s smartphone shipments recorded 35% YoY growth in Q2 2023, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service. This was the market’s second consecutive quarter of growth, as the macroeconomic environment remained relatively positive largely due to the robust performance of the non-oil sector. Furthermore, there was a noticeable improvement in consumer sentiment compared to 2022, as evidenced by the strong Ramadan sales season this year.

A bar chart showing the Saudi Arabia smartphone shipments and 5G share

Ramadan sales and e-commerce activity up YoY

Ramadan holds much importance for both consumers and retailers in Saudi Arabia. Lasting 7-8 weeks, the Ramadan sales season is the longest in the country during a given year, with customers spending a significant amount on gifts. During the Ramadan months of 2023, spending activity recorded strong YoY growth. According to the Saudi Central Bank, consumer spending grew 10% YoY in Q2, with the point-of-sale (POS) and e-commerce transactions (MADA cards) also growing 13% and 30% YoY, respectively.

During the Ramadan sales season, OEMs and retailers deploy various strategies to attract customers. This year, these included creative marketing campaigns such as Samsung’s ‘Stay Apart, Stay Together This Ramadan’ and HONOR’s ‘Memories Together’. Offers included attractive discounts, some as high as 50%, bundled offers and free accessories. Some e-commerce channels extended the duration of their sales to further benefit from the positive consumer sentiment.

Additionally, e-commerce activity continues to rise due to digitalization, substantial promotional activity, easy financing options like ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL), and convenient delivery services across the country. OEMs such as Samsung, Huawei and HONOR and e-commerce platforms like Noon and Jarir Bookstore hosted extended sale events, all contributing to growth.

A bar chart showing Saudi Arabia smartphone shipment share by OEM

Competitive Landscape

  • Samsung achieved a 23% YoY growth in shipments during the quarter, benefiting from a stable supply chain and strong festive season performance. The brand saw sustained sales of the cost-effective Galaxy A series, as well as a good show by its new 5G and premium devices.
  • Apple shipments more than doubled YoY owing to consistent demand for the iPhone 14 series, especially the Pro versions. Besides, the brand greatly benefited from the surge in online purchases and financing options provided by BNPL platforms like Tabby and Tamara.
  • Xiaomi grew 17% YoY in Q2 2023, maintaining its third spot. The brand recorded growth in the $100-$149 price band driven by the Redmi 12C. The mid-tier Redmi Note 12 series also performed well.
  • Motorola grew YoY in Q2, driven primarily by its compelling low-to-mid-tier offerings. Motorola has been improving the availability of its new launches in Saudi Arabia, including its latest foldables and the Razr 40 series.
  • HONOR was one of the fastest-growing brands in Q2 2023, steadily improving product availability, channel presence and participation in domestic promotional events. During the Ramadan season, HONOR offered large discounts on its entire portfolio, from the HONOR 70 to the X series, available across all major channels like eXtra, Jarir and Noon.


Saudi Arabia’s smartphone market is expected to record low single-digit growth in 2023. Further, H2 shipments are expected to decline YoY, largely due to Saudi Arabia’s oil production cuts causing a decline in the country’s overall economic activity. Nonetheless, we remain optimistic about the market, as digitalization and 5G networks continue to expand.

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4G Smartphones Dominate Mexico’s Q2 2023 Bestsellers List

  • Samsung dominated with five models on the list.
  • Apple’s iPhone 11 was the third best-selling model in Mexico in Q2 2023.
  • 60% of the models in the top 10 list were priced below $150.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy A34, Galaxy A54 5G were the only two 5G models on the top 10 list.

Mexico is the second most important smartphone market in Latin America.  The country has the second-highest population in the region and hosts an extremely competitive ecosystem. Mexico’s geographical size and lack of import barriers make it an extremely attractive smartphone market.

The top-selling models accounted for 35% of Mexico’s total smartphone market in Q2 2023. The top 10 list almost appears like Samsung’s performance for the quarter as the brand dominated the top-selling chart in Mexico in Q2 2023. Five of the 10 best-selling models were from Samsung. According to Counterpoint’s Market Pulse Report, Samsung’s share in Q2 2023 was slightly more than 30%.

OPPO and Motorola both had two models in the Q2 2023 top-selling list. Motorola, which has always been a strong player in the Mexican market, launched a few new models during the quarter that helped the brand increase its market share. OPPO, a relatively new entrant in the LATAM market, managed to retain its third position in market share with two of its models in the top-selling list.

Top-selling models in Mexico
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Pulse, Q2 2023

60% of the models in the top 10 list were priced below $150. This price band accounts for 52% of the overall smartphone market in Mexico. However, premiumization is infiltrating the Mexican market, and the number of models in the >$150 band is increasing in the top-selling list. This trend is accelerating slowly but will surely lead to a higher overall smartphone ASP.

Apple’s four-year-old iPhone 11 has been part of the Mexican bestseller list for a few quarters now. It was the third best-selling model in the Mexican market in Q2 2023. The iPhone 11, which is a 4G model, was the most expensive model on the list. The massive sales of this model reflect the strength of Apple’s branding.

The 4G version of OPPO’s Reno 7 was another model in the bestsellers list priced more than $150. This is quite an achievement for the brand, which arrived in the region just three years ago. OPPO is still building its branding in the Mexican market. The Reno 7 has been in the Mexican top-selling chart since December 2022.

It is noteworthy that only two models in the chart are 5G phones – the Samsung Galaxy A34 and the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. The latter one is also the most expensive Samsung model in the top-selling list. Meanwhile, Telcel has been pushing its subscriber base to replace their phone with a 5G one. Mexican consumers are still not ready for 5G technology.  They would rather get more specs than access the technology.

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LATAM Q2 2023 Smartphone Shipments Fall 15.6% YoY Hurt by Regional Economic Crisis

  • Entry of Chinese brands stirring up regional market.
  • Samsung remains regional leader with 36.9% share, followed by Motorola with 21.4% share.
  • Apple’s growth mainly sustained by the iPhone 11.
  • One in four smartphones shipped in the region is a 5G smartphone.

Buenos Aires, San Diego, Denver, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing – August 24, 2023

Smartphone shipments in Latin America (LATAM) dropped 15.6% YoY but climbed 2.4% QoQ in Q2 2023, according to the latest data from Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor service. The decline was due to the negative impacts of the regional economic crises and weak global smartphone shipments.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Principal Analyst Tina Lu said, “LATAM’s economic growth in 2023 is actually slightly higher than forecast. However, this recovery has not yet inspired an increase in the rate of smartphone replacement. Low consumer demand continued to affect the region during the quarter. Although most countries in the region are seeing declining inflation, consumer confidence is yet to bounce back, as political turmoil continues to constrain the general economy.”

Research Analyst Andres Silva added, “Seasonal factors such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotions helped the market grow slightly QoQ in Q2 2023, although the market declined YoY. The entry of many Chinese brands at once is stirring up the market as they aim for growth, pushing other brands to become more aggressive. However, the YoY decline affected all the top six countries in the region.”

Top Smartphone OEMs’ Market Share in Latin America, Q2 2022 vs Q2 2023

LATAM Q2 2023 - Top Smartphone OEMs’ Market Share in Latin America, Q2 2022 vs Q2 2023
Source: Counterpoint Research Q2 2023 Market Monitor
Note: Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Commenting on the ASP performance in the region, Lu added: “There is a slight premiumization trend going on in the region. Compared to last year, LATAM’s total smartphone ASP only grew around 4%. This has been a consistent trend. Inflation has some influence on it.  However, established brands such as Samsung are pushing to increase the ASP in the region with 5G models.”

Market Summary

  • Samsung was once again the absolute leader in the LATAM market in Q2 2023. However, its shipments and market share declined YoY with weakened performance in most of the countries in the region.
  • Samsung has been very aggressive in offering extra discounts during the promotions. But not enough as its shipments were hurt by the Brazilian market and the entry of Chinese brands.
  • Since Samsung is focusing more on premium models now, the availability of its models in the lower price bands is becoming restricted. Thus, its overall value dropped -2% YoY.
  • Motorola’s shipments decreased YoY but its market share increased slightly. It increased the number of models in the entry-segment E series. It also increased its brand awareness with the launch of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro in May with an aggressive advertising campaign.
  • Xiaomi lost share slightly during the quarter but remained stable due to the launch of the Redmi Note 12 during the first week of April. This increased its Q2 2023 shipments and sales. Xiaomi also increased its Poco brand shipments in the open channels in the region.
  • Xiaomi recovered slightly from its position in Mexico. The participation of the grey market in the southern part of the LATAM region continued to grow.
  • Apple’s shipments and market share both grew YoY in Q2 2023, mainly sustained by the iPhone 11. The 4G smartphones are still driving Apple’s volume in the region.
  • OPPO continued to be a strong fifth player in the region and ranked third in Mexico. Its volume increased by more than 70% in Q2 2023, while its share more than doubled YoY. Despite the growth, its shipments dropped QoQ.
  • HONOR did not make it to the list, but its growth in LATAM has been notable. HONOR was the brand with the most aggressive growth during the quarter. However, it still needs to build on its branding.
  • “Others”, mainly composed of regional brands, continued to decrease YoY. This category was most affected by the entry of low-price-band Chinese brands.


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.

Analyst Contacts

Tina Lu


Andres Silva


Peter Richardson

Follow Counterpoint Research       

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Apple’s Smartphone Revenue and Operating Profit Hit June-Quarter Records in Q2 2023

  • Apple led global smartphone revenues and operating profit with record June-quarter shares of 45% and 85% respectively.
  • Global smartphone revenues declined by 8% YoY and 15% QoQ to well under $90 billion in Q2 2023.
  • In the same period, global smartphone operating profit fell to below $13 billion, declining by 3% YoY and 27% QoQ.
  • Apple was the single-largest contributor to profitability, with an 85% share, up from 84% last quarter and 81% in the same quarter last year.

London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Denver, Buenos Aires – Aug 4, 2023

Global smartphone market revenues declined by 8% YoY and 15% QoQ to significantly under $90 billion in Q2 2023, the lowest Q2 figure since 2020 during the height of the global pandemic-related lockdowns. The corresponding operating profit declines were 3% and 27% according to research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service.

Commenting on Apple’s performance, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack noted, “Apple’s shipments declined by 3% YoY while the smartphone market declined by 9% in the same period. At the same time, its ASP increased thanks to a growing contribution of the Pro series, declining contribution of the SE series and the replacement of the Mini in iPhone 13 with a Plus in iPhone 14. As a result, while Apple’s iPhone revenue declined by 2% annually, its revenue share grew, reaching a second-quarter record of 45%. This is up by almost 3% since the same quarter of last year. Its share of global operating profits also grew by 4% since Q2 2022, reaching 85%, another second quarter record for Apple.”

Apple Smartphone Revenues and Operating Profit Q2 2023

The revenue decline in the overall market was caused by a shipment decline of 9% YoY combined with an ASP growth of only 1% in the same period.

Commenting on overall market dynamics, Research Director Tarun Pathak said, “The low ASP growth is mainly due to seasonality as, for instance, the second quarter is equidistant from peak iPhone demand and new iPhone launch, and sees neither of Samsung’s ultra-premium S or Z-series launches. The annual revenue decline also translated into operating profit losses for the overall market. The sequential operating profit decline suffered additionally from a changing shipment-mix, especially as the shipment share of Apple, the single-biggest contributor to total operating profit, went down by almost 4% QoQ.”

Despite ASP growth stagnating in the quarter, the premiumisation trend is likely to continue as emerging markets drive the next chapter of its growth and mid-tier brands target the premium segment and premium brands aim to sell more of their highest-priced models. Consequently, both global smartphone revenues and operating profits will see a recovery starting in H2 2023. This will support the smartphone market in the period when it struggles with lower shipments.

Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.

You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view the smartphone market share for WorldUSChina and India.


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.

Analyst Contacts:

Harmeet Singh Walia


Tarun Pathak


Jeff Fieldhack


Follow Counterpoint Research


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US Smartphone Shipments Fall 24% YoY in Q2 2023 on Lower Upgrade Rates

  • Shipments declined YoY for the third consecutive quarter amid weak consumer demand.
  • Android smartphone shipments declined 38% while Apple shipments fell 6% YoY.
  • Consumers hesitated to purchase smartphones amid economic uncertainty.
  • Google and Motorola launched new foldable models during the quarter.
  • Low smartphone upgrade rates are likely to persist in Q3 2023.

Denver, Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – July 28, 2023

US smartphone shipments declined 24% YoY in Q2 2023, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor data. This was the third consecutive quarter of YoY declines. Android brands like Samsung, Motorola and TCL-Alcatel saw the steepest declines in shipments, while Apple’s shipments were more resilient. As a result, Apple’s share of shipments increased YoY.

US Smartphone Shipment Share by OEM

US smartphone shipments share by OEM

Commenting on the decline in smartphone shipments, Research Analyst Matthew Orf said, “Consumer demand for smartphones was tepid in Q2 2023, with the summer slump in sales coming early. Despite inflation numbers falling through the quarter and ongoing strength in the job market, consumers hesitated to upgrade their devices amid market uncertainty. We expect this trend to continue through Q3 2023, but the expectations from the upcoming iPhone 15 remain bullish.”

Despite the overall drop in shipments, certain segments of the US smartphone market saw important signs of life in the quarter. Senior Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne said, “In spite of declining smartphone shipments, the foldable market reached important milestones in the quarter. Motorola launched the Razr+, its first foldable device in the US since 2021, and Google launched its first-ever foldable, the Pixel Fold, providing alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy foldables. With new Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold devices coming from Samsung in Q3 2023, foldable shipments could reach their highest level ever in the US in Q3 2023.

Associate Research Director Hanish Bhatia noted, “Despite fewer shipments from Apple compared to the same quarter last year, the brand’s share of shipments was still up 10% YoY. Apple’s resilience was driven by strong promotions across postpaid and prepaid. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile continued to offer $800+ promo credits for the iPhone 14 while old-generation iPhones were also steeply discounted across prepaid. We are seeing no weakness in the overall promotional activity. In fact, we observed new highs for trade-in credit with Verizon offering up to $1,100 for the Pixel Fold. Google’s Pixel also grew from a small base and launched its old-generation Pixel 6a in the prepaid channel for the first time to compete with the iPhone 11. Both devices were heavily subsidized in prepaid channels.”

Director of North America Research Jeff Fieldhack said, “AT&T and T-Mobile reported positive net adds, but Verizon reported negative net adds within its consumer segment for the second consecutive quarter. The net-add activity remains comparable to last year, but the upgrade rates have been lower, causing overall weakness in demand. Near-record low churn has also had a dampening effect on new device sales. Weakness is likely to continue through the start of Q3 2023, but stronger iPhone 15 demand could offset weakness across Android.”


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.

Analyst Contacts 

Matthew Orf

Maurice Klaehne

Hanish Bhatia

Jeff Fieldhack

Follow Counterpoint Research


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How Far Has Technology Come in 20 Years?

Source: Created with Stable Diffusion

Twenty years ago, I was an equity analyst for a Wall Street investment bank. At the time, my research director liked to get all the analysts to write occasional thought pieces. In the following article written in June 2003, I chose to write a speculative piece that looked back to 2003 from five years in the future, i.e. 2008. I speculated that there would be quite a few technological leaps in the five intervening years.

Given the 20 years that have now passed since I wrote the article, how many of those technologies have actually come into being? As you will see, not many, while others that were not foreseen have matured – for example, app-based smartphones and music streaming.

Without specifically naming it as artificial intelligence, I foresaw a role for cloud-based intelligent software agents that would provide intuitive assistance in multiple situations – a true digital assistant. These have not come into being and they are not even much discussed. We do have digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, but they are mostly incapable of anything more than answering simple questions and certainly couldn’t be trusted to book travel tickets, make restaurant reservations or update other people’s diaries. While ChatGPT and derivatives of Large Language Models seem superficially smarter, they are still not yet at the stage of being able to function as a general assistant.

One other technology referenced in the article that is still far from maturity, is augmented reality. The glasses described were not too far-fetched – Microsoft’s HoloLens can achieve some of what is described and Epson and Vuzix, for example, have developed glasses that are in use by field service engineers. But these products are not able to reference real-world objects. Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro, while technically brilliant, would not be a suitable solution for the use case described.

At the end of the article, I listed companies that I expected to be playing a significant role in the development of the various technologies highlighted. But where are those companies now?

For context, and for the younger readers, around the turn of this century, third-generation cellular licenses had been expensively auctioned in several countries and many mobile operators were struggling to generate a return on their investment. Oh, how things have changed (or not)! As an analyst covering mobile technology, I could see that investors were valuing mobile operators solely on their voice and text revenues, with zero value being ascribed to future data revenues. My article was also an attempt to awaken investors to the potential value beyond voice.

Anyway, here’s the report that I wrote in mid-2003. It was written as though it were an article in a business newspaper.

Special Report – June 2008

Connected People

It is just eight years since European wireless telecom companies became the subject of outright derision for spending billions of dollars on licenses to operate third-generation cellular networks. Now the self-same companies have become core to our everyday existence. Their stock, which bottomed in the middle of 2002, has risen steadily ever since.

The original promise of 3G technology was high-speed data networking coupled with an exceptional capacity for both voice and data. But critics said that it was an innovation users didn’t need, want or would be willing to pay for.

When the first commercial 3G networks appeared in 2003 and faltered at the first step, the doubters started to look dangerously like they had a point. But the universe is fickle and within the last two or three years, the combination of maturing networks and the inevitable power of Moore’s Law has started to deliver wireless devices and applications that would have been thought of, if not as science fiction, then at least science-stretching-the-bounds-of-credibility, when the licenses were issued.

However, while the long-time infamy of 3G means it is taking the starring role as industry watchers chart the chequered history of the technology, it is the supporting cast of technologies that has really delivered the goods. Without them, 3G would have remained just another method to access the backbone network.

The following snapshots from one perfectly ordinary day last month show how the coordinated application of a whole slew of technologies has subtly but distinctly altered our lives.

Bristol – May 1, 2008, 12:57 pm

Beads of sweat form on the face of Jim McKenna, a 24-year-old technician, as he studies the guts of a damaged generator. McKenna is a member of a rapid response team, looking after mission-critical power generation facilities across Southern England.

“Dave, I’ve located the damaged circuits, I think I can repair it, but the control unit is non-standard and I’ve not seen one like it before. Can you help me out here?”

McKenna’s voice is picked up by a tiny transducer microphone embedded in a Bluetooth-enabled hands-free earbud. The bud is so small it nestles unobtrusively in the technician’s ear. The earbud is wirelessly connected to the small transceiver on McKenna’s belt. His voice activates a ‘push’-to-talk connection to his controller in the Scottish technical support center. The word push is in quotes because it is his voice that effects the push, leaving McKenna’s hands entirely free.

In the Edinburgh-based command center, David Sanderson, an experienced engineer, maximizes the image from one of a half-dozen sub-screens that compete for his attention. Each screen shows live pictures from his team of technicians with data about their location and degree of job completion.

Sanderson taps the screen again and, 400 miles away in Bristol, a tiny camera on McKenna’s smart glasses zooms in on the generator specification plate. Sanderson peers intently at the screen:

“I see a code on the side panel. I’ve highlighted it for you. Can you scan it? I can then pull the circuit files for you”.

Seemingly in mid-air, a red circle appears around a barcode away to McKenna’s right. The heads-up display in McKenna’s glasses maintains a fix on the code even though he moves his head. He leans across and uses the camera to scan the code, which is instantaneously transmitted back to Edinburgh where the circuit plans are uploaded from the database. Sanderson extracts the relevant section before speaking again to McKenna.

“Jim, I’m initiating the synchronization, you should have it in a few seconds.”

The 3G transceiver on Jim’s belt receives the information and immediately routes it to his smart glasses via Bluetooth. As Jim looks at the damaged circuitry, the heads-up display begins to superimpose the circuit diagram over the actual circuits, adjusting for size. He spends a few minutes comparing the damaged circuits with the schematic images. He calls for more backup.

“Dave, the problem is definitely in this sector of the step-down circuit,” McKenna points to a series of circuit boards, “is there a suggested workaround in the troubleshooting file?”

Within minutes the heads-up display starts guiding McKenna through a series of measures that isolates and bypasses the damaged circuits. Within 20 minutes, McKenna successfully reboots the system – power is restored.

Five years ago, very little of the above could have been done as efficiently and intuitively. Field service engineers needed substantial experience to tackle complex tasks – they also had to carry heavy, often ruggedized PCs and a whole series of manuals on CD-ROMs. Technical backup, where available, was a cellular voice call.

Liverpool Street, London, May 1, 2008, 2:32 pm

Joanne King, an equity analyst, is meeting a buy-side client. As they settle into the soft leather chairs of the meeting room, she slides a flexible plastic sheet across the table. The sheet is printed with electronic ink. The latest marketing pack was downloaded to her mobile terminal on the way over in the taxi. She taps the screen of her smartphone and the slide set appears on the sheet. As Joanne and her client discuss the vagaries of the stock market, they are able to use virtual tabs to flip between ‘pages’ within the pack. When the client requests more information on the balance sheet of one of companies they’re discussing, Joanne is able to pull down the necessary information, adding it to the slide set.

Partway through the discussion, Joanne hears a subtle tone in her ear indicating an urgent communication request from her personal digital assistant. She apologizes to the client before initiating the communication path. “Wildfire, what’s the problem?” she knows that Wildfire will only override her no-interrupt rule if an issue requires immediate attention.

“An air traffic control strike in Paris has disrupted all flights. Your 6 pm Brussels flight is showing a two-hour delay and may be canceled. The best alternative is to take the Eurostar train. Services leave at 16:30 and 18:30.”

After a moment’s thought, Joanne comes to a decision: “Book the 16:30, please.” Conscious of the topics still to cover in her meeting, she adds, “Can you also have a taxi waiting when I am through here?”

Wildfire confirms the instructions and drops back into meeting mode. Joanne apologizes to the client and resumes her meeting. Meanwhile, Joanne’s software agent communicates with various travel services, canceling her flight reservation and booking the rail service.

Having learned from Joanne’s prior behavior, the agent books a First Class seat in a carriage toward the front of the train. The agent also communicates with a taxi firm – a car will be waiting when her meeting is completed. The agent is authorized to spend money within predefined limits. Simultaneously, the agent modifies Joanne’s expense report and calendar.

Joanne’s dinner date with friends in Brussels will be hard to keep given the change in travel plans. The agent negotiates with the diaries of her three dinner guests and the reservation computer at their chosen restaurant. A new reservation is agreed and four diaries are updated accordingly.

At the conclusion of her meeting, Joanne leaves the slide set contained in the pre-punched flexible display. Her client will be able to store it in standard folders and refer to it at leisure. Solar cells ensure that there is enough power to display the material without having to worry about battery charge.

As she heads for the taxi, Joanne’s location-aware PDA recognizes she is in motion and, therefore, ready to communicate. “Joanne, you have 2 voice messages, 23 business e-mails and 12 personal e-mails. How would you like me to handle them?” Joanne chooses to listen and respond to a voicemail on the short taxi ride to Waterloo, deferring the e-mails for the train.

Once in her seat on the Eurostar train, Joanne unfolds a screen and keyboard that work alongside her 3G smartphone. Bluetooth provides the link between the smartphone, screen and keyboard. The Light Emitting Polymer screen is extremely lightweight and flexible, yet delivers high contrast and color resolution. Power consumption is low.

Joanne spends an hour responding to the e-mails before kicking off her shoes and taking out an e-book to settle down to listen to some music. She is particularly looking forward to a new album she bought on the way to the station. A song she was unfamiliar with came over the radio in the taxi – loving it, but not knowing what it was, Joanne recorded a quick burst. Vodafone, her service provider, was able to identify the music and offered to sell her the single or album. In anticipation of her long train ride, she chose the album. Leaning back in her seat, she lets the cool beats ease her to Brussels.

In 2003, one-on-one presentations were either made from a PC screen or delivered on regular paper. Meeting interruptions were either obtrusive or impossible, and changing travel reservations on the fly typically required several people – often with intervention by the traveler herself. Meanwhile, mobile e-mail was possible but only on large-screen PCs, compromised by size, weight and power consumption, or devices with screens and keyboards too small for anything other than limited responses.

Hyde Park – May 1, 2:18 pm

Mike Lee is on his way home from high school. He flips his skateboard down three steps and dives for cover in the bushes, the sound of gunfire ringing in his ears. Peering through the leaves, he holds a small flat panel console in front of him. He scans through 120 degrees, concentrating on the screen. The intense rhythms of electro-house are now the loudest sounds he hears, but there is also the distant rap of gunfire. On the screen, he sees the surrounding park, but in addition, the occasional outlandish figure appears, flitting between hiding places among the trees. “Josh! Where are you?” Mike demands in an urgent whisper.

“I’m by the lake dude. Surrounded. Can you get down here? I’m running out of ammo.”

Mike swings around, looking toward the lake through his device. He sees Josh’s position highlighted on the screen. He turns back, takes a deep breath and starts jabbing buttons on his device. Explosions and smoke fill the screen. Then running to the path, he jumps back on his skateboard and carves down the hill to the lake, pitching into the shrubbery next to his buddy Josh. They proceed to engage the advancing enemy in a frenzy of laser grenades, gunfire and whoops of delight.

After a few minutes, they both hear the words they have been waiting for, “Well done men, you have completed Level 12. Hit the download button to move on to the next level.”

Mobile gaming, even as recently as 2003, offered a relatively poor user experience. Simple Java games were the norm. Games now not only involve online buddies but they are also immersed into the surrounding environment, massively enhancing the experience. 

3G has come a long way from its ignominious start. However, the real catalyst that has made it a life-changing technology has been the incredible range of diverse technologies that have emerged to support the growth in wireless voice and data applications.

 Cast List:

3G smartphones – Nokia, Motorola

Bluetooth earbuds – Sound ID

Heads-up display – Microvision

Voice-driven push-to-talk – Sonim

Voice control – Advanced Recognition Technologies

Personal digital assistant – Wildfire

Electronic ink pad – E Ink, Philips Electronics

Music capture – Shazam Entertainment

Foldable Light Emitting Polymer Display – Technology from Cambridge Display Technology

Augmented reality game console – Nokia N-Gage 4

Intelligent mobile agents – Hewlett Packard

Geo-location technology – Openwave

Where are these companies in 2023?

My original cast of technology characters has seen mixed fortunes, some are still around but with different owners while others have disappeared altogether. Few are still going in their original business niche:

Nokia and Motorola are brands that are still making mobile devices, but in different guises than in 2003.

I don’t know what became of Sound ID. There is an app called SoundID created by Sonar Works, but it is different and unrelated to the Sound ID identified in the article. But Bluetooth True Wireless earbuds are now a huge market.

Microvision is still in business but has shifted its focus to LiDAR in the automotive space.

Sonim is still in business and still making ruggedized devices, including push-to-talk devices for the safety and security sectors.

Advanced Recognition Technologies was acquired by Scansoft in 2005.

Wildfire was an innovative voice-controlled personal assistant that was acquired by the operator Orange in 2000. But Orange killed the service in 2005.

E-Ink still exists, although Philips parted ways with it in 2005.

Shazam still exists but was acquired by Apple in 2018. When it started in 2002, you had to dial a short number and hold your phone to the sound source. Users would then receive an SMS with the song title and artist.

Cambridge Display Technology is still around. It was floated on Nasdaq in 2004 and acquired by Sumitomo Chemical in 2007.

Hewlett Packard is clearly still around. However, it doesn’t make intelligent software agents. But then again, neither does anyone else, at least not in the way portrayed in the article.

Openwave no longer exists, although many of its businesses have been absorbed into other entities.

Fast Charging Powers 80% of Global Smartphone Sales in Q1 2023, Averaging 34W

  • 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

Chinese brands are leveraging fast charging as a selling point to attract consumers. For instance, realme and Xiaomi offer smartphones with power capabilities exceeding 200W. Furthermore, Xiaomi and OPPO recently showcased smartphones with an impressive 300W fast charging capability. These brands aim to provide extremely fast charging speeds, enabling users to charge their phones within a few minutes.

A chart showing the fast charging milestones in terms of wattage


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.

Fast charging smartphones average power wattage by brand

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.

Analyst Contacts:

Karn Chauhan

Shubham Nimkar

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Saudi Arabia Smartphone Shipments Grow 26% YoY in Q1 2023, Buck Trend

  • The Saudi Arabia smartphone market was among the few to record YoY growth in Q1 2023.
  • Even as many economies struggled in 2022 amid macroeconomic and geopolitical pressures, Saudi Arabia was bolstered by its highest oil revenues in decades, all-time-low unemployment rates, all-time-high non-oil economic activity and strong private consumption.
  • Among OEMs, Samsung and Apple continued to take over half of the total smartphone shipments in Q1 2023, with Samsung taking the #1 spot.
  • We expect the Saudi Arabia smartphone market to continue its growth momentum in 2023, with annual shipments likely to grow in low single digits.

The Saudi Arabia smartphone market was among the few to record YoY growth in Q1 2023, with shipments growing 26% YoY largely due to strong macroeconomic fundamentals, accelerating digitalization, and growing device financing options. In QoQ terms, the shipments grew 17% as OEMs filled channels for the Easter and Ramadan sales season, towards the end of the quarter.

Growth drivers

As many global economies struggled in 2022 amid macroeconomic and geopolitical pressures, Saudi Arabia was among the few to buck the trend. Bolstered by its highest oil revenues in decades as global oil prices soared, Saudi Arabia was the fastest-growing economy in 2022, with all-time-low unemployment rates, all-time-high non-oil economic activity and strong private consumption. PoS (Point of Sale) transactions, e-commerce activity and digital payments have also been on the rise in Saudi Arabia, all pointing to growing digitalization and private consumption. Some of the market momentum at the end of 2022 was carried into Q1 2023, especially after the economic boost provided by the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the year-end and holiday season of Q4 2022.

Saudi Arabia Smartphone Shipments & 5G Share

Saudi Arabia Smartphone Shipments and 5G Share – Q1 2021 to Q1 2023

While the feature phone to smartphone migration has slowed down in Saudi Arabia, a growing digital economy and an aspirational customer have become key growth drivers. Commercial and private 5G use is also increasing in the country, pushing 5G smartphone sales. 5G technologies are a key part of Saudi Arabia’s digitalization and growth push under the Vision 2030 plan. The country has partnered with major 5G infrastructure players like Huawei and Ericsson, and 5G networks are now available in most major cities, covering around 80% of the country’s population. Saudi Arabia has also been hailed as a 5G pioneer in the region in terms of coverage, speed and consistency. 5G smartphone share remained above half of total smartphone shipments for the second consecutive quarter in Q1 2023 and is likely to grow further in 2023.

Competitive landscape

Saudi Arabia smartphone shipments Q1 2023Saudi Arabia Smartphone Shipments by Top 5 OEMs for Q1 2021, Q1 2022, Q1 2023

Among OEMs, Samsung and Apple continued to take over half of the total smartphone shipments in Q1 2023, with Samsung taking the #1 spot. Xiaomi and Motorola were distant third, with HONOR rounding out the top five for Q1 2023.

Samsung grew YoY as its supply normalized in the region. The brand’s 5G models have been leading growth, especially the new affordable 5G M-series and A-series iterations. The Galaxy M53 was the best-selling Android device in the country in Q1. Samsung’s newest flagship Galaxy S23 series was shipped slightly earlier than the S22 series in 2022 to meet the pre-order demand triggered by aggressive marketing and promotions in the country, with most channels and offline stores participating.

Apple’s smartphone shipments nearly doubled YoY led by the popularity of its iPhone 14 series, especially the Pro versions, and as older models became affordable and available. Apple reached its highest-ever Q1 shipment share in Saudi Arabia in 2023. The brand has greatly benefitted from the rise of financing options, like the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ model, in Saudi Arabia, making its devices accessible to a greater demographic. Besides, a rising mean wage and stable exchange rates increased the average Saudi Arabian consumer’s purchasing power in 2022. iPhones took four of the top five spots in the bestseller list for Q1 2023, with the iPhone 14 Pro coming out on top.

While Xiaomi’s shipments grew YoY in Q1, it lost share marginally, as Motorola and HONOR gained share driven by new launches. Xiaomi has been able to maintain share largely due to its broad portfolio across price bands, innovative marketing strategies, and a strong presence across both offline and online channels.

Motorola has been gaining share, led by its offerings in the $150-$249 price band, particularly its G series, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of its total sales in Q1. Motorola has benefitted from improved product availability, especially for new launches, and strong brand pull, especially for middle-income customers looking for upgrades to their lower-segment devices.

HONOR was among the fastest-growing brands in Q1, with its shipments more than doubling YoY. HONOR’s growth is largely due to focused expansion efforts, aggressive launch campaigns and an attractive mid-tier to high-end portfolio. HONOR has also benefitted from utilizing Huawei’s earlier distribution and channel relationships. The HONOR 70 and the X series were the top volume drivers for the OEM in Saudi Arabia for Q1 2023.

Smartphone sales grew YoY across all price bands in Q1 2023 but declined QoQ largely due to seasonality. All price bands except the premium band (≥$600) lost share YoY as consumers moved up the price bands. But the premium band was the fastest-growing band in Q1, led by Apple and Samsung. Apple captured around 85% of the total premium smartphone sales in Q1. The mid-tier ($100-$249) remained the largest price band in Saudi Arabia, capturing nearly half of the total smartphone sales in Q1, with Samsung and Xiaomi taking the top spots in the price band. The lower (<$100) segment grew YoY but, like other non-premium segments, lost sales share during the same period, as customers continued to buy higher-ASP devices with improving affordability and rising aspirations.

Market outlook

We expect the ASP of smartphones sold in Saudi Arabia to continue to rise in 2023, as wage rates improve, financing options become more accessible, and customers move towards better devices. Currently, Apple and Samsung remain best equipped to capture more share of the aspirational Saudi Arabia smartphone market, but the quest for the #3 spot continues. While Xiaomi remains comfortably in the #3 spot, other Android OEMs have been mounting pressure with bolder promotions and marketing activities and aggressive launch strategies. Motorola, HONOR and Transsion Group brands Infinix and TECNO are likely candidates outside the top three to capture market growth.

Going forward, we expect the Saudi Arabia smartphone market to continue its growth momentum, with annual shipments likely to grow in low single digits in 2023. Increasing 5G use, ramping up of digitalization, greater access to financing options and growing aspirations of customers are expected to drive growth.


  1. ASP & Priceband Analysis done using Wholesale Prices
  2. Xiaomi includes Redmi, Pocophone, Black Shark

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LATAM Smartphone Shipments Fall 9.9% YoY in Q1 2023, But Most Leading Brands’ Volume, Share Increase

  • Samsung remained the region’s absolute leader with a 41.7% market share. It was also the leader in all the markets in the region.
  • OPPO’s volume grew 88% YoY, the highest growth among leading brands in the region.
  • Brazil, Mexico, and Chile suffered the biggest drop YoY.

Buenos Aires, San Diego, Denver, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing – May 11, 2023

LATAM smartphone shipments declined 9.9% YoY in Q1 2023 on weak consumer demand, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor service. After a bleak Q4 of 2022, things did not turn around during the first quarter of 2023. Traditionally, Q1 is one of the slowest quarter of the year as the southern hemisphere’s summer recess falls in this quarter. The shipments usually start picking up in March in preparation for the Mother’s Day sales season in May. However, this year’s weak demand affected these shipments.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Principal Analyst Tina Lu said, “High inflation, low economic growth, and some social unrest that continued from 2022 impacted consumer confidence in the region. 5G smartphones failed to attract consumers in big numbers to accelerate the rate of replacement. But still, the region’s 5G smartphone portfolio increased by more than 21% even as the share of 5G smartphones improved only a few points since December. It is still not clear whether the LATAM consumer wants a 5G smartphone or buys it as it is the best option available.”

Top Smartphone OEMs’ Market Share in Latin America, Q1 2023 vs Q1 2022

LATAM smartphone shipments- Q1 2023

Source: Market Monitor

Commenting on the performance of OEMs in the region, Research Analyst Andres Silva said, “While the smartphone market continued to decline, most leading brands managed to increase their share and even volume. With leading brands having better product availability and deeper pockets to run promotions, the smaller brands were pushed to an all-time low. However, the overall inventory situation continued to improve.”

Market Summary

  • Samsung’s volume and share in the region dropped YoY, impacted by the general market decline. However, the brand’s share improved QoQ. During Q1 2022, Samsung started an aggressive volume shipments that continued till Q2 and resulted in high inventories that lasted until the end of 2022, impacting the brand’s shipments during H2 2022. This year, Samsung was more cautious and did not build that massive amount of inventory.
  • The launch of refreshed A series allowed Samsung to remain as the region’s absolute leader with a 41.7% share, more than double the closest competitor’s.
  • The launch of the S23 series allowed Samsung to remain the value leader in the region. Samsung conducted an aggressive promotional campaign for the launch of the S23 series, and it was rewarded with better performance than last year’s S22 series. Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina were the markets driving this growth.
  • Xiaomi also gained volume and share. Its growth was driven by the launch of the A2 model in February and the Note 12 model in April (shipments of the model started in March). The brand also managed to partially resolve the issues being faced by it in Mexico.
  • Xiaomi is trying to push its premium models, but the response from end users has been lukewarm so far.
  • Apple’s volume and share also increased YoY. The iPhone 11, a 4G model, drove its growth in the region.
  • Apple has been aggressively driving sales by offering a memory upgrade in the iPhone 14 and some subsidies for many of its products.
  • OPPO continued to grow, with its share more than doubling YoY. Its volume grew 88% YoY, the highest growth among leading brands in the region. Entering the region three years ago, OPPO has already consolidated its position among the top three in Mexico. It is now aiming to grow its share in Colombia and Peru.
  • OPPO is also set to increase its share in the premium segment by launching the Find N2 Flip in the region. It is the third OEM to launch a flip model in the region.
  • ZTE’s volume continued its decline from 2022. It is one of the brands affected by the regional decline.
  • The smaller and regional brands’ volumes continued to decrease. They have been squeezed by the big brands’ deep pockets and new entrants.

Feedback or a question for the analyst that wrote this note?


Tina Lu

Senior Analyst



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.

Analyst Contacts

Tina Lu

Andres Silva


Peter Richardson


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