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Apple is the bestselling smartphone brand of Q4 2020

Beats Samsung for second

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Last month, market analysts confirmed Apple’s return to dominance atop its rivals as the company that shipped the most smartphones. In the meantime, the former leader Huawei plummeted to the sixth spot after suffering a dismal year. Now, though confirming what we already know, a new quarter report brings an additional surprise: Apple also became the bestselling smartphone brand for Q4 2020.

According to market researcher Gartner, Apple sold close to 80 million units in the last quarter of 2020. With the final numbers in, the company eked out a sizable lead against Samsung for the top spot in the period. In comparison, Samsung sold only 62 million units. The third spot belongs to Xiaomi with 43 million units. Finally, OPPO and Huawei are neck-and-neck for fourth and fifth with 34 million units sold apiece.

Notably, though the iPhone 12 series launched during the same period, Apple started selling them midway through the quarter. The company’s sizable lead points to one of two conclusions: Apple’s past iPhone series are still selling beyond expectations, or the iPhone 12 series came out extremely hot straight from the oven. Then again, it could be both.

Prior to the iPhone 12 series, Apple launched the new iPhone SE back in April during the height of the pandemic. Especially with the model’s budget-friendly promise, the iPhone SE (2020) helped the company survive through the turbulent pandemic when almost every other company suffered through devastating losses.

SEE ALSO: Huawei plummets to no. 6 from no. 1 in smartphone shipments

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Apple working on an in-house modem

Saying goodbye to Qualcomm

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In-house components are on the rise. Instead of relying on other component makers, a few brands have started creating their own parts for their devices. For example, Google recently launched the Pixel 6 series with its own Tensor chipset, the company’s first in-house processor. Apple is reportedly joining the bandwagon, potentially launching an in-house modem for future iPhones.

According to Nikkei, Apple is partnering with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (or TSMC) for the latter’s 4-nanometer chip technology. With the partnership, Apple is on its way to building its own 5G modems for iPhones. Apple will also work on a battery management system built for the upcoming modem.

Prior to the announcement, Apple sourced its modems from Qualcomm. Ever since 5G became a ubiquitous feature, Qualcomm helped provide modems for most smartphones. Now, almost the entire market has 5G connectivity. The company has even stopped attaching the “5G” name to its chipsets with the assumption that every forthcoming product already has the feature attached.

Though Qualcomm is still a leader in the industry, numerous brands have already started ditching Qualcomm for their own components. As such, a huge chunk of the industry reduced their reliance on the semiconductor giant. For its part, Apple has already moved away from a lot of components, especially after its current chipsets.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s Self Service Repair will let you fix your broken iPhone on your own

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Samsung teases that sliding, rolling displays are coming

Officially teased

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Since the debut of the Galaxy Fold a few years ago, Samsung has dominated the foldable smartphone market with nary a competitor to hinder its success. Of course, folding screens aren’t the only ways to revolutionize display technology. Other brands, like LG, have developed sliding and rolling displays. Now, officially announced by the company, Samsung is officially trying its hand at other form factors.

Teased on their official site, Samsung Display has teased “a new era” with Samsung OLED. The company has released a few teaser images depicting a rollable and sliding display for the future. They will be called the Rollable Flex and the Slidable Flex, respectively.

However, though the form factor is officially coming now, Samsung has not announced where the new displays will launch. Though both are certainly staples of the television market, it’s within the realm of possibility that the new form factors will also come to Samsung’s smartphone lineup.

Back in May, Samsung patented the Z Rollable branding, potentially hinting at a future smartphone with the form factor. It might take a while for sliding and rolling displays to make their debut, though. Samsung still leads the foldable industry, but the market arguably hasn’t taken the industry by storm just yet, especially because of the form factor’s price tags.

SEE ALSO: Samsung launches 1000-inch TV display

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Qualcomm Snapdragon is getting a rebranding

It’s a new era for Snapdragon

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In terms of processors, Qualcomm Snapdragon is one of the most iconic barometers of a device’s capabilities. However, new followers of the smartphone industry might find it difficult to follow all the different numbering systems. Sensing the same difficulties, Qualcomm has announced that they are rebranding (and simplifying) the chipset series’ branding.

Officially announced by Qualcomm, the new era of Snapdragon is coming. For one, Snapdragon is officially dropping Qualcomm from its name. Instead of peddling its wares as Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, for example, the company’s chips will just be known as Snapdragon [insert number scheme here].

Speaking of its number scheme, the Snapdragon rebrand will also simplify the sometimes-arcane numbering system. Going forward, Qualcomm is trading in its triple-digit scheme for a single-digit one. The Snapdragon 888 (and its contemporaries) might end up being known as the Snapdragon 8 series now.

Finally, a small change that means all the difference: Snapdragon will no longer add in “5G” in the name of its future chipsets. When 5G was a novel feature, Qualcomm added “5G’ to its naming schemes to indicate that their products came with the feature. Now that 5G is ubiquitous now, Snapdragon will drop the scheme; instead, all future chipsets will come with the assumption that they are 5G-compatible.

However, despite Qualcomm’s announcement, we still don’t know how the new branding will look like exactly. We don’t have a concrete example yet. Qualcomm usually launches the next generation near the end of the year, so we might not have to wait long for an example.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm promises zero carbon emissions by 2040

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