Explained: What are GenAI smartphones and what they may mean for users and smartphone brands

The coming year will be pivotal for Generative AI (GenAI) smartphones with preliminary data projecting their shipments to reach over 100 million units in 2024, according to an upcoming report titled ‘GenAI Smartphone Shipments and Insights’ from Counterpoint Research. The report forecasts that by 2027, GenAI smartphone shipments will reach 522 million units, growing at a CAGR of 83%.
“The share of GenAI smartphones in the overall smartphone market will be in single digits through next year.But those numbers will not accurately reflect the amount of excitement and marketing hyperbole we are expecting to see,” said Counterpoint’s research director Tarun Pathak. “We are working to a standard definition developed with our clients and partners, reflecting inputs from across these key players. Next year is about learning and we expect GenAI smartphones to hit an inflection point in 2026 as the devices permeate through the broader price segments,” he added.
What are GenAI smartphones
The research defines GenAI smartphones as a subset of AI smartphones that uses Generative AI to create original content, rather than just providing pre-programmed responses or performing predefined tasks. These devices will run size-optimized AI models natively and come with certain hardware specifications. GenAI landscape sees OEM roadmaps touching on four main areas -– info provisioning, image building, live translation, and personal assistant applications. In short, any smartphone that has a large language model residing in its memory, which it leverages to deliver original content after being prompted by the user, is a GenAI smartphone.
Examples of GenAI on your phone
Google Pixel 8, using a proprietary processor, and its on-device LLM, can summarise content you have recorded using the voice recorder. The search giant announced this feature recently with the launch of Gemini. Smartphone giant Samsung too has announced its own foundational AI model called Gauss, designed to run locally on phones and produce text, code and images
Samsung and Qualcomm to lead
Samsung and Qualcomm are said to be the current leaders as their existing product offerings and capabilities position them as first movers. According to report, Samsung is likely to lead the market. “Similar to what it did with foldables, Samsung is likely to capture almost 50% share for the next two years, followed by key Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi, vivo, HONOR and OPPO. Samsung earlier highlighted the use case of its Galaxy AI on smartphones. This is one example of how OEMs are geared to differentiate their upcoming smartphones and GenAI will play a key role in that differentiation.
As for processors, Qualcomm is likely to capture over 80% of the GenAI smartphone market for the next two years. MediaTek is likely to catch up with its Dimensity 9300-based devices.

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