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Here’s what we expect from smartphones in 2024

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

2023 has been a pretty strong year when it comes to the smartphone industry. Phone shipments may be down, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to be positive as a potential consumer.

We’ve seen great Android phones across the board, competition in the foldable phone space, and a continued democratization of flagship features in cheaper handsets.

But what does 2024 hold for the smartphone industry? Here’s what we expect to see next year.

Generative AI is the biggest

Stable streaming Qualcomm Doggo

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Did he ever doubt that generative AI would make the list? The entire industry has been pushing for it, and the flagship silicons of 2024 – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, MediaTek Dimensity 9300, and Samsung Exynos 2400 – were all equipped with improved AI hardware to accelerate this growing trend.

So there’s a good chance that if you buy a new flagship Android phone in 2024, it will have the hardware to deliver fast generative AI capabilities.

Specifically, we’ve seen the industry tout features like lightning-fast text-to-image generation, portraits with generative AI backgrounds, and advanced photo editing suites like Magic Editor. Qualcomm is even going so far as to offer photo expansion (expanding the boundaries of a photo with AI), with Samsung’s One UI 6.1 expected to offer this feature as well.

Generative AI will undoubtedly be a major theme for 2024 smartphones.

Generative AI is not limited to basic text/image generation. For example, Samsung claims its Galaxy AI suite can offer real-time translation during calls, while a leak suggests the company could even offer a textual summary of your phone calls. Google also touts a Zoom Enhance feature that lets you zoom in on images after the fact.

MediaTek says its new Dimensity 8300 Ultra chip also offers support for generative AI, meaning we could very well see mid-range phones with more advanced AI features next year.

Either way, we hope Google, in particular, brings more generative AI features to the device. After all, what’s the point of bragging about your chipset’s on-device AI prowess when you’re using the cloud for multiple features?

More powerful phones, but at what cost?

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 dummy chip.

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The all-new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and Dimensity 9300 chips are expected to power many high-end Android phones next year. And both up the ante significantly when it comes to power.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 offers a 1+5+2 processor configuration, including one big core, five medium cores, and two small cores. This means you get one more average core and one fewer small core compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Based on our Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 testing, we saw a big improvement in multi-core performance.

Meanwhile, the Dimensity 9300 ditches small CPU cores entirely in favor of four large cores and four medium cores. This also translates to significant multi-core CPU gains, which could be a boon for demanding tasks.

Our preliminaries also revealed a good improvement in peak GPU performance. But it also suggests that all that power could come at a cost in 2024, especially with the Dimensity 9300. While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered REDMAGIC 9 Pro and the Dimensity 9300-powered vivo X100 Pro deliver big wins in testing punctual, they both saw sharp declines for sustained performance.

The gaming-focused REDMAGIC handset maintained a disappointing stability of around 67% in the Wild Life stress test with the cooling fan and performance mode disabled. But this drop is quite small compared to the Vivo handset, which only offers around 45% stability.

Of course, stress tests don’t accurately reflect normal phone usage. But we seriously hope that other phones using 2024 flagship silicon will perform better.

It’s also worth noting that most (but not all) of the new flagship phones launched so far with Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 or Dimensity 9300 chips come with significantly larger batteries. We don’t know if this is just a natural progression of technology or if OEMs think these SoCs are more power hungry. Still, it looks like there could be an increase in the battery capacity of the cards in 2024.

Periscope cameras will become more popular

Alternative phones OPPO Find X6 Pro

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It really seems like 2024 could be the year that periscope cameras become more common on smartphones. We have already seen companies like HUAWEI, OPPO, Google, Samsung and more recently Apple offering this technology. Granted, this is a pretty solid roster of big players, but periscope cameras could see even more adoption next year.

Realme and OnePlus recently adopted periscope cameras on their next-generation flagship phones. Leaks indicate that more OnePlus, OPPO and Realme phones are getting this technology. But we wouldn’t be surprised if other Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Motorola and Vivo offer periscope lenses on cheap phones.

Newly released phones and leaks about upcoming handsets suggest that 2024 could be a big year for camera zoom.

We’ve seen several phones equipped with periscope cameras with good low-light image quality in 2023, so we expect this trend to continue next year. We’re also about to see a few brands bring the megapixel wars to periscope cameras. The vivo X100 Pro Plus is rumored to offer a 200 MP periscope camera, while an upcoming HONOR flagship is expected to offer a 160 MP periscope lens. It’s just crazy.

Then again, the rumored OPPO Find X7 Pro could take a completely different route. It is claimed that the phone will adopt dual 50 MP periscope cameras, namely 3x and 6x shooters.

We’ve also seen more phones using high-resolution main cameras to offer cropped zoom at close range (2x to 3x). Qualcomm camera chief Judd Heape said Android Authority that he does, however, see dedicated 2x telephoto lenses becoming a dying breed in 2024. Heape says 10x and beyond will require folded zoom cameras.

But, I think, 2x (telephoto lenses – editor’s note), that’s probably no use now. Because we have enough flexibility with the (main) sensor, we can do this.

More foldables, and cheaper ones too?

Motorola Razr (2023) closed in hand 2

Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority

2023 really seemed like the first year Samsung faced a variety of global competitions for the best foldable phone. HONOR, OnePlus, Google, Motorola and even TECNO have all eventually offered foldables outside of China.

It seems logical that this dynamic will continue in 2024 and that more brands will offer foldables. In fact, we already know that HONOR will launch its first foldable Flip next year.

In 2023, the Motorola Razr/Razr 40 made a splash as the first true mid-range foldable. Other manufacturers can’t accept this, so we certainly expect to see some brands offering equally cheap (if not cheaper) Flip phones next year.

We could be in for a banner year when it comes to foldable phones. But will we see more mid-range foldables?

Again, MediaTek vice president Finbarr Moynihan estimated that this form factor would still be largely limited to premium offerings in 2024.

“I think foldables will continue to be an interesting part of the high-end market for a while,” Moynihan said. Android Authority in a recent interview. “I don’t do it think It is while going has replace THE standard form postman. It is just while going has complement he For A period of time,” he continued, highlighting cost and mechanical issues.

The golden age of mid-rangers will continue

google pixel 7a vs samsung galaxy a54 standing

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

2023 has been a great year for mid-range phones, with devices like the Samsung Galaxy A54 and Google Pixel 7a bringing some flagship features (like water resistance) to a more affordable price. The Google phone even introduced wireless charging in the mid-segment. This trend shows no signs of slowing down next year.

A recent Galaxy A55 5G leak indicates that the mid-ranger is getting a metal frame, which would be a welcome premium addition to cheap Galaxy phones. Rumors also persist that Samsung’s mid-range Exynos silicon will benefit from AMD graphics, which could be a big plus for wallet-conscious gamers if it brings solid performance.

We’ve also seen a trend among smartphone brands to bring older flagship silicon to their upper mid-range handsets, and we expect this to be the case in 2024 as well. The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will probably still be widely used next year.

Add to that leaks indicating that more mid-range phones are getting zoom cameras, flagship camera sensors are coming to cheaper phones, and the continued proliferation of ultra-fast wired charging, and the lines continue to blur between flagship and mid-tier segments.

What do you think will be the biggest trend in 2024?

114 votes

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