What innovations await us for smartphones in 2023: the trends towards which new generation devices will move. The time of giant technical and technological leaps between generations of smartphones is over, and the budget models can do the usual tasks and are sufficient for everyday use.
The pace at which smartphone manufacturers are innovating has slowed compared to the past because the market is mainly considered saturated. Nonetheless, the 2023 novelties in the smartphone sector promise to be exciting and more tempting than what we saw in 2022.
More smartphone models in 2023 will be equipped with OLED displays, even in the mid-range and budget range. Furthermore, even the less expensive products will begin to integrate curved displays: in this regard, the top of the range will be led by the Samsung E6 display, bringing screen brightness to levels never seen before.
We are talking about 2,200 nits, doubling the best value we use today. The panel will be 12-bit, allowing the transition from a color rendering of 1.07 billion colors (10-bit) to 68.7 billion colors: we discuss how many colors the human eye can see in the article.
By combining VRR ( Variable Refresh Rate ) and LTPO ( low-temperature polycrystalline oxide ) technology, which among other things, helps to reduce energy consumption, For example, assuming you have a YouTube video at the top of the screen and the comments below, the video content can be played at 60Hz. In contrast, the comments part can use a refresh equal to 120-144Hz: in this way, the viewing experience becomes even more fluid.
Camera And Photographic Compartment
In 2022 we witnessed the “race for Megapixels” with the presentation of smartphones initially equipped with 48 Megapixel sensors, then taken to 50, 108, and finally to 200 Megapixels. As megapixels increase, smartphones use pixel-binning solutions to improve photo quality: the sensor acquires light information from multiple photoreceptors by merging data from different pixels.
In this way, the brightness information is acquired more accurately and realistically, returning quality images even in low light conditions. The image resolution will equal the overall resolution of the sensor divided by a particular factor corresponding to the pixel matrix used by the sensor (Samsung ChameleonCell, for example, uses 16 pixels).
Samsung and Sony, the leading companies that design, manufacture, and supply photographic sensors to partners, are preparing to travel – in 2023 – on different tracks. Sony is betting on the size: 1-inch sensors will be on all top-of-the-range smartphones. On the other hand, Samsung wants to focus attention on megapixels again, so much so that by the end of 2023, it is reasonable to wait for the launch of a 400-450 megapixel sensor.
In general, however, as we recall in the article on the meaning of megapixels, the size of photographic sensors and their technical characteristics matter much more than the number of megapixels. Let’s take the 35mm full-frame sensor of a DSLR ( Digital Single Lens Reflex ) camera as a reference: it measures 864mm 2.
A 1/1.7″ sensor used in some of the best smartphones measures just 43mm 2; a 1-inch sensor around 116 mm 2 is still about 7.5 times less than a DSLR sensor. One aspect that will bring smartphones closer to DSLR cameras or the adoption of a dedicated chipset for photographic functionality.
It is a component that significantly improves the optimization ( post-processing ) of the acquired images using unique algorithms. Vivo V2, for example, is an image signal processor ( image signal processor ) or ISP that uses the Ultra Zoom EIS algorithm based on IMU, OIS, and EIS. The result is improved zoom abilities without negatively impacting image quality.
Raw Enhance 2.0 improves photos in low light conditions, while black latency increases shooting speed by detecting movement: both new features will be present in vivo V2. As a trend, therefore, the various smartphone manufacturers will, in turn, integrate a dedicated chipset for the photographic sector.
RAM And Storage
Among the most important innovations that will characterize 2023 smartphones is the extension of LPDDR5 memory to mid-range devices: up to now, these fast RAMs have only been used in top-of-the-range. The latter will instead embrace the use of LPDDR5X memories which have already set new records in terms of performance (8.5 Gbps of bandwidth) and energy efficiency: the most up-to-date RAMs are 1.3 times faster than LPDDR5 (6 .4 Gbps).
A truly impressive leap forward will be made on the storage side: in another article, we discuss the differences between UFS, eMMC, and SSD. Here, in 2023 flagship smartphones will use UFS 4.0 memory with an impressive bandwidth: of up to 23.2 Gbps, doubling the performance of the current UFS 3.1.
On the other hand, UFS 3.1, now used on all the more expensive smartphones, will pass on mid-range devices, ensuring the purchasers of these devices have superior performance compared to products that are placed in the same category today.
On the connectivity side, the most crucial novelty that will be brought to its debut during 2023 indeed consists in the introduction of the WiFi 7 chips. WiFi 7 will be revolutionary and make a clear leap forward compared to previous iterations of the standard: manufacturers are already presenting the first WiFi routers today, such as TP-Link, and Qualcomm has unveiled its Immersive Home Platform.
MediaTek and Qualcomm have, in turn, forged ahead by presenting their respective SoCs, Dimensity 9200 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, with 802.11b support (WiFi 7). Inspired by the work done by Apple, more and more smartphones will turn into satellite phones in 2023. Starlink with T-Mobile, Huawei, and Google (the company confirmed that Android devices would soon integrate a satellite connection) are looking in the same direction.
It is assumed that the Samsung Galaxy S23 will immediately support satellite functions. Not that sending data via satellite is an everyday thing, but the security of not being cut off in areas without mobile network coverage is priceless. 2023 could bring an ever-increasing number of smartphones with eSIM support. Apple has invested a lot in it by also releasing iPhones that no longer integrate the classic slot for inserting physical SIMs.
Of course, removing the SIM slot saves space inside the smartphone (to the designers’ delight…). It helps to reduce costs, but it is a little less practical for those users who often travel abroad and usually buy a SIM “local” and enter it into their phone. However, disassembling an iPhone 14, one realizes that instead of the SIM slot, there is simply a black block of plastic without any use.
Battery And Fast Charging
Speaking of batteries, however, the European Commission has established that from 2024 it will be possible to sell devices that support USB-C chargers. Apple has confirmed that it will reluctantly comply with the new provisions by abandoning the historic Lightning connector. In another article, we focus on the points to consider when using a non-original charger with your smartphone.
One aspect of battery charging concerns that giants such as Samsung, Apple, and Google lag behind their Chinese competition. While Galaxy, Pixels, and iPhones, which support 25W-30W, need to be plugged into the wall outlet for an hour and a half to restore battery life, other smartphones fully recharge in less than twenty minutes, from 0% to 100%.
The fast charger and underlying technology supported by many Chinese devices support up to 120W, and thanks to complex protection mechanisms, the batteries do not get too hot. At the Mobile World Congress at the end of February 2023, Oppo set itself the goal of presenting a 200W fast charging solution. The leading companies on the market and the best-known names are still very far from these goals.
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