2022’s smartphones were good, but 2023’s will have to be better if Android makers want to topple Apple.

Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Florence Ion covers smartphones and smart homes for Gizmodo. She’s been writing about the Android operating system since 2012 and recently added iOS to her repertoire. You can follow her coverage here, and email story ideas or arguments why she should switch to the iPhone here.

The top story:

Android’s market share is trailing behind Apple in the U.S. and Canada, and iPhones recently scored more than 50% of the total US market for the first time ever. It’s probably all about the ecosystem: No one does a walled garden that’s worth sitting in like Apple. Google and Samsung certainly try, but those two companies are also competing with one another, so the platform is segmented. We’ll be watching closely to see how Android fights back in 2023.

What we’re waiting for:

  • Samsung’s Galaxy S23 flagship family, which includes the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra, will be the first batch of smartphones to debut in Q1. Their arrival tends to set the trajectory for Android devices for the rest of the year. Will it excite us in 2023? (It didn’t excite me last year.)
  • Google and Apple’s developer conferences happen in May and June, respectively. That’s when we’ll find out all the new capabilities coming to Android and iOS. It’s the best indicator for where the respective ecosystems are focused.
  • Foldables are gaining traction with more additions from overseas brands like Oppo and Huawei. We’ve now got lots of foldable options, but will they become affordable in 2023?

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Unconventional wisdom:

Google is into the habit of dropping special features just for its Pixel smartphones. There’s often a technical reason for the exclusivity; after all, the whole point of the in-house Tensor chip was to fine-tune its AI capabilities so that Google could sell more smartphones. But this practice will lead to more fragmentation in the Android operating system. Even with Google’s unification efforts through the Android source code and providing updates piecemeal through the Play Store, as long as Google, Samsung, and brands like OnePlus do their own thing to compete with one another, the disparity will continue.

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