The Galaxy S23 series that Samsung will launch in the first quarter of next year should feature satellite communications support, just like Apple’s iPhone 14 and Huawei’s Mate 50 series. While a report says that Samsung has been developing the feature for a couple of years, Samsung is still following Apple’s lead in the industry. But if there was one feature every Android vendor should copy, it’s support for satellite communications for emergencies.
In September, Apple announced support for satellite communications for the entire iPhone 14 lineup, but the feature just rolled out a few days ago. iPhone 14 owners can test the feature to see how Emergency SOS over satellite works. Unlike Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, the iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity will only work in case of emergency.
Specifically, people in distress who can’t connect to Wi-Fi or a cellular network to call emergency services will be able to text them via satellite. The iPhone 14 lets users share their location with loved ones when they’re off the grid.
According to ET News, Samsung is working with satellite communication company Iridium, which has 66 low-orbit satellites around the planet. The plan is to provide voice and data communication services.
Samsung has been developing the feature for a couple of years, looking to overcome the difficulties associated with satellite communications. The company reportedly wants to transmit text messages and low-resolution images over satellite. This would be an upgrade over what the iPhone 14 can do.
The biggest challenge is miniaturizing a satellite antenna to fit inside a smartphone like the Galaxy S23. Voice and high-speed data communication over satellite require large antennas. These are features that aren’t coming to smartphones anytime soon.
Locating a satellite on iPhone 14 for Emergency SOS communication. Image source: Apple Inc. Even though Samsung appears to have bigger goals for satellite communications, it should still replicate the iPhone 14’s primary use for the technology. Adding satellite support to a phone for emergency services would be a welcome first step toward bringing more sophisticated satellite communication to smartphones.
The report says that Samsung should release its satellite communication products in the near future due to pressure from Apple and Huawei. Therefore, flagship phones like the Galaxy S23 series should be the first to support the technology. Still, it’s too early for Samsung to talk about these initiatives. An official refused to confirm or deny the feature.
Samsung should unveil the Galaxy S23 series in February or March.
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The iPhone’s A-series System-on-Chip (SoC) is the mobile processor that sets the tone in the mobile industry. We’ve been waiting for years for rivals to come up with a decent alternative, and we might finally have one. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that will power 2023 Android phones like the Galaxy S23 series might deliver a great challenge to the A16 Bionic inside the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
Qualcomm’s newest flagship processor will power every Samsung Galaxy S23 variant. Moreover, the silicon Samsung is getting might be exclusive to the S23 series. Whatever the case, the base Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip already looks impressive. The first Geekbench 5 benchmarks indicate that the processor can almost match Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro.
Geekbench 5 is a popular benchmark tool that provides scores for single-core and multi-core CPU performance. The benchmark tool also covers GPU performance. We’ve been looking at these scores for years, and brand-new SoCs appear on the benchmark site long before the launch of commercial products.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max scored 1884 (single-core) and 5431 in a recent test. That might be a modest but notable performance bump over the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13 and affordable iPhone 14. But it’s still well above what other 2022 flagship smartphones can offer. For example, the Pixel 7 Pro is no match for the iPhone 14 Plus.
The Galaxy S23 launch might be several months away, but we’ll see other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered phones before then. The Vivo X90 Pro+ is one such device. Well-known Samsung insider Ice Universe posted Geekbench scores for the handset, revealing the new SoC can reach 1462 in single-core tests and 5182 in multi-core tests.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can almost match the iPhone 14 Pro’s performance in single-core and multi-core tests. The future Galaxy S23 chip outscores the iPhone 14 Plus in multi-core performance but still can’t match the single-core scores.
Geekbench 5 benchmark scores: Vivo X90 Pro+ Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max A16 Bionic. Image source: Geekbench With that in mind, the same leaker also teased the Galaxy S23s massive performance and efficiency gains.
Ice Universe noted that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powering the Galaxy S23 will deliver 45% multi-core gains over the Galaxy S22’s Exynos 2200 in European and Korean Galaxy S22 units. When it comes to GPU performance, he teased 60% improvements over the Exynos 2200, plus energy efficiency gains of up to 88%.
It’ll be interesting to see the actual Galaxy S23 benchmarks, which have yet to leak. If rumors are true, the 2023 Samsung phones will get an exclusive SoC variant that’s optimized even better. That means the handsets might score even higher in benchmarks than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 variant in the Vivo phone.
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While the global smartphone market recorded its third consecutive decline this year, Apple remains the only company to register positive growth. This time, the new iPhone 14 lineup, in addition to the previous models, helped Apple to be the only vendor in the top five to record this positive growth.
According to Canalys, Q3 2022 registered a drop of 9% in a year-on-year comparison, marking the worst Q3 since 2014.
Samsung still maintains the leading position with a 22% market share. Apple, as pointed out by the analysis, “was the only vendor in the top five to record positive growth, improving its market position further with an 18% share during the market downturn thanks to relatively resilient demand for iPhones.”
Image source: Canalys While iPhone 14 Pro models are surely helping Apple to maintain its position, several reports show the company is struggling with the base models iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. A new DigiTimes story (via MacRumors) shows that “several supply chain makers” received a notification from Apple to cut iPhone 14 Plus production by around 40%.
Not only that, but DigiTimes’ sources show that Apple will revise downward the total shipments of iPhone 14 Plus to around 10 million units for 2022. At least, it seems the company is moving its production efforts to the iPhone 14 Pro models.
Recently, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple failed with its product segmentation for the base model iPhones as the iPhone 14, the iPhone SE 3, and even the iPhone 13 mini sold poorly.
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Apple will launch the iPhone 14 in just a few days. And all estimates say the new series will see incredible demand after launch. iPhone 14 sales might outperform the iPhone 13, which already sold amazingly well, defying the economy. Furthermore, the iPhone 14 should sell very well in China. All of this must give Samsung nightmares, as the company has just mocked the iPhone 14 in a brand new ad.
Rather than promote its newest Galaxy phones on their own merits, Samsung felt it had to troll the iPhone 14 with less than a week to go until the phone’s launch. It’s a habit that Samsung is yet to correct, even though some of these trolling ads might hurt the Korean giant.
Here’s how Samsung words its ad above:
Samsung’s fear is the best possible promotion for the iPhone 14 too. If you’re still on the fence about this upgrade, then Samsung trolling Apple is the kind of sign you might have needed.
As a reminder, the iPhone 14 trolling campaign comes from a company that copied the iPhone pixel by pixel in its early days. Even today, Samsung still follows Apple’s every move after mocking the iPhone maker. And that’s why some of its anti-Apple ads then hurt Samsung.
Speaking of innovations, let’s also remember Samsung is the only big smartphone maker that had to recall a flagship phone after its innovations caught on fire. Twice.
Similarly, Samsung shipped a poorly designed Galaxy Fold a few years ago. It then had to postpone the launch by months. It redesigned the handset so it wouldn’t break as easily.
Then there’s this year’s Galaxy S22 performance scandal. Even if you don’t want to buy the iPhone 14, you should avoid the Galaxy S22 at all costs. Samsung’s innovations turned the Galaxy S22 into an overheating mess early this year. And then there were additional misleading claims about the handset’s capabilities that should keep you away from it.
With all that in mind, Samsung better buckle up. The massive iPhone 14 sales that will follow in the coming year will obliterate all the 2022 and 2023 flagship Galaxies.
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Like clockwork, Samsung president and head of the mobile division TM Roh penned a blog this week, just a few weeks ahead of the upcoming Unpacked press conference that will focus on this year’s Galaxy Z foldable phones, the Fold 4 and Flip 4. We saw the same thing happen last year, and we now expect Roh to keep writing similar blogs with every Fold and Flip release.
Roh just hinted that Samsung sold a massive number of foldable phones in 2021 by mentioning a figure of 10 million foldable phone sales for the period. Or so it seems. Because, when you think about it, 10 million units is a drop in the bucket for Samsung, whose smartphone sales routinely pass 250 million units a year.
Roh’s remarks indicate what some consumers might have already realized: Foldable phones might not be worth it yet. What Samsung really needs is a foldable iPhone to lead the way.
Foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold and Flip are fascinating on paper. They offer larger screens and smaller footprints. The Fold is especially exciting as it lets the user make the most of two types of devices — a smartphone and a tablet.
A brief history of Samsung’s foldable phones
Samsung has been at the forefront of foldable handsets for years. It teased the form factor well before the technology was ready. And then it released the first Galaxy Fold before actually testing it properly in real-life environments. The initial launch failed miserably, as Samsung had to find fixes for critical design flaws that led to the destruction of the phone.
The Fold 2 and Fold 3 significantly improved the phone’s durability, especially the latter. The Fold 3 is the best possible foldable phone that Samsung can make. And even so, the Fold 3 is hardly perfect. The Fold 4 should fix some of the usability and design issues the Fold 3 suffers from. The new foldable will have a larger external display and weigh less than its predecessor.
Galaxy Fold (2019) teardown highlights the phone’s design issues. Image source: iFixit But Samsung’s foldables aren’t true flagships like the Galaxy S and Note. The Fold series actually helped “kill” the Note without replacing it. The camera experience is still unable to match that of the Galaxy S Ultra, although the Fold 4 might change that. The Flip 4 is even further away.
Not to mention that Samsung can’t fully control the software. Samsung’s success in the foldable business hinges on Google’s willingness to adapt Android for foldable screens. And it’s up to Google to convince Android app developers to update their apps to make the most of Fold and Flip phones. But why go through all that hassle for just 10 million potential customers?
Add to that the flagship price for a somewhat fragile, not-flagship device, and you’ll get why people won’t want a foldable instead of a traditional phone, especially in this economy.
Are foldables really going mainstream?
This brings us to Roh’s new post about Samsung foldable phones titled The Mainstream Moment for Foldable Smartphones Is Here.
In this post, he said the industry registered almost 10 million foldable smartphone sales worldwide last year. That’s an increase of more than 300% from 2020. And Roh says he predicts “this fast-paced growth will continue.”
“We are reaching the moment where these foldable devices are becoming widespread and staking a bigger claim in the overall smartphone market,” he said.
A quick back-of-the-napkin calculation tells us that handset makers should sell 30 million foldable phones this year to keep that 300% pace in place. That is hardly reasonable for the economy we’re currently living in.
Not to mention that some estimates see Samsung selling only 15 million foldable phones in 2022. It’s unlikely that Chinese companies can make up for the rest. And a foldable iPhone isn’t coming anytime soon.
Google apps running on Galaxy Fold 3 foldable. Image source: Google How many Galaxy Z Fold 3 units did Samsung sell?
Then, Samsung might sell only 10 million Fold 5 and Flip 5 units in 2023. If these estimates are accurate, Samsung’s foldable sales will grow by 50% this year compared to the entire industry’s performance in 2021. And then they’ll stay flat next year in a best-case scenario.
To put things in perspective, Apple routinely sells around 200 million iPhones yearly. For massive profits and without crazy deals in place.
Also, annual smartphone shipments have reached at least 1.28 billion units per year since 2014.
Meanwhile, reports say that Apple can’t make a foldable iPhone because it can’t mass-produce enough foldable glass covers to satisfy its needs. That implies that foldable iPhone volumes would be so large no supplier could handle the parts order. Not even Samsung, whose foldable phone tech might very well end up inside a foldable iPhone.
Let’s also observe that Roh did not reveal which foldable smartphones sold the best. Last year, Samsung sold four foldable handsets: The Fold 2, Flip 2, Fold 3, and Flip 3. But he did say that 70% of Samsung’s buyers opted for the Flip experience rather than the Fold.
The Note would have probably outsold all Samsung foldables combined last year. But Samsung had no Note 21 in stores. Apple’s iPhone SE 2 outsold the Galaxy Folds and Flips combined. And while that’s a mid-range device, it still delivers better durability and performance than any Samsung flagship.
Oppo Find N foldable phone. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR Where the foldable iPhone could help
These are all signs that Samsung’s foldable phones while doing well, are hardly getting to be mainstream devices. And while Samsung has been selling more foldables than anybody else, it barely has any competition. Some of the exciting foldable phones from China aren’t available widely.
Not to mention that Samsung ran massive campaigns to convince buyers to try and keep foldable phones. You could try the Fold 2 for 100 days and then return it. Or trade in everything but the kitchen sink to buy a Fold 3, with a retail price starting at $1,799. The Fold 4 isn’t out yet, but you can already save up to $200 on it by reserving the right to preorder it.
Concept image of a foldable iPhone with a clamshell design. Image source: ConceptsiPhone/YouTube Time will tell whether Samsung can accelerate the rate of foldable smartphone innovations without a real competitor to pressure it. And whether foldables will go mainstream with Samsung as the locomotive.
But that’s where a foldable iPhone would really help. Samsung would not rest on its laurels and write self-congratulatory blog posts every summer if a foldable iPhone were to launch just a few weeks after the newest Fold.
Also, the more time that passes without a foldable iPhone, the harder it will be for Samsung to replace the traditional smartphone with a foldable form factor. And at 10 million units sold annually, that’s hardly going mainstream. That’s because something else might kill traditional smartphones: The sophisticated AR glasses of the future. And that sort of tech is a priority for Apple.
That’s not to say all the tech Samsung has devised for foldable phones won’t come in handy. But the world might use it to create other types of foldable devices instead of phones.
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