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Why next year’s premium smartphones will be less interesting

In 2023, high-end smartphones could greatly disappoint consumers. This is suggested by the first returns from Taiwanese factories, where the chips that will equip the best smartphones of 2023 are designed.

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In Taiwan, it is said that the chips from Qualcomm and Samsung will, like every year, be more powerful than those of this year. But in 2023, they would above all be more energy-intensive.

Indeed, the Exynos and Snapdragon chips are based on an ARM architecture. Roughly speaking, these platforms integrate low-, medium- or high-performance cores. The most powerful hearts are logically those that consume the most energy. And if the designers managed to optimize everything until last year, we observe an overconsumption of energy on the new generation chips. We have seen this for example with the Galaxy S22 whose autonomy is rather disappointing.

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Unfortunately, the new chip architecture for 2023 models seems to make things even worse. According to feedback from Taiwan, the most efficient cores would consume 10% more energy. We can therefore expect to see the autonomy of premium smartphones drop in 2023. Unless…

Qualcomm back to home?

According to media sources NotebookCheck, Qualcomm would consider developing the architecture of its chips internally again to avoid this kind of inconvenience. The American giant worked this way until the Snapdragon 865 chip.

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Will this be enough to compensate for this energy consumption problem? Not necessarily. Smartphone manufacturers will therefore have to focus on other points: the battery, first, the capacity of which could be increased. They can also work on hardware/software optimization.

From racing to performance

The problem faced by chip manufacturers could also be solved in another way: by renewing processors less often. Manufacturers are used to integrating a new chip each year with their smartphones. However, processors two or even three or four years old still perform well enough to meet our needs.

For several years, our uses have changed very little. While waiting for virtual reality (which we have been hearing about for 10 years) and augmented reality (which is beginning to emerge), most of our use focuses on multimedia, the web, a little gaming and video as well as photography.

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If all these uses have evolved – and therefore required technical improvements – we have reached a glass ceiling (with the exception of photography, which continues to evolve). Therefore, we can consider renewing the chips every two years, for example, in order to provide all consumers (depending on their hardware renewal date) with high-performance models. And to top it all off, it wouldn’t hurt the planet.

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