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While the new S23 models pitch a completion to the latest iPhone 14 series, the broader smartphone industry is witnessing major slowdown amid current macro environment.
On Wednesday, February 1, tech giant Samsung launched the lineup for its flagship Galaxy smartphones. The Galaxy S23 smartphone lineup comes with three new models: the standard S23, the mid-variant S23+, and the most premium S23 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S23
The Galaxy S23 starts at a price of $799, the Galaxy S23+ comes at a price of $1,000, while the S23 Ultra comes at $1,200. This new lineup of smartphones from Samsung comes with a better camera and enhanced gaming features and shall be competing with the likes of other premium handsets such as the iPhone 14.
Samsung has been typically releasing its S series handsets during the first half of the year and thus it keeps up with the trend. during the second half of the year, the South Korean tech giant unveils its Galaxy Z line of folding phones.
The most expensive of the three models, Galaxy S23 Ultra will have a 200-megapixel “adaptive pixel” sensor which combines 16 pixels into one larger pixel for improved brightness as well as getting detailed shots in low-light simulations.
Samsung added that the users’ low-light photography with these handsets would be assisted by the faster processing speed from its internal chipsets. Samsung’s chipset boasts AI capabilities built in partnership with Qualcomm.
Besides, the Galaxy S23 models come with a video feature dubbed “astro hyperlapse” which allows users to take time-lapsed motion shots without any special equipment. The S23 Ultra houses a huge 5,000 mAh battery which allows longer hours of gaming on the device.
Tough Times for Smartphone Market
The recent launch of Samsung’s new Galaxy models comes at a time of uncertain macroeconomic environment and waning consumer demand. The consumer tech space is particularly seeing a softening demand for premium smartphones.
Due to rising price pressures and tightening budgets, people are willing to spend less on big-ticket gadgets. During the fourth quarter of 2022, global shipments of smartphones plunged 18.3% to 300.3 million units. This has been the largest decline on record for the smartphone industry. Even the holiday season failed to boost the demand in the market.
During the last year of 2022, a total of 1.21 billion smartphones were shipped, representing the lowest annual shipment since 2013, reported market research firm IDC. In an email to CNBC, Paolo Pescatore from PP Foresight said:
“Everything is heading in the wrong direction for consumer electronic providers”.
In Q4 2022, Samsung recorded its worst quarterly profits since Q3 2014. The smartphone giant reported an operating profit of 4.31 trillion won ($3.4 billion), dropping 69% year over year.
Additionally, consumers are now suffering from smartphone fatigue and are no longer willing to upgrade their devices. Since they are not quite satisfied with the improvements in the newer models, they are holding on to their existing devices for longer. Leo Gebbie, principal analyst for connected devices at CCS Insight said:
“As has been the case with most flagship launches in recent years, the customers who will feel the most benefit from Samsung’s latest devices will be those upgrading from older models or from a mid-range device. Customers who have bought a premium-tier mobile in the last year or two will see little difference between the device they already have and the new Galaxy S23 family.”
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