#186. Global crisis: growth in sales of ultra-premium smartphones.

Table of Contents

  • New M-series smartphones from POCO
  • Premium smartphone market
  • Request Engineers, or Whispers

New M-series smartphones from POCO

On Monday, Xiaomi-owned brand POCO introduced an update to the M-series. Two smartphones - POCO M5 and POCO M5s.

I want to remind you that the M-series began veryright. Although POCO M2 has gone unnoticed. As I understand it, it was launched only in India. But POCO M3 was a success. Unusual design with a textured back panel, balanced characteristics and a pleasant price have done their job.

However, then there were fewer bright models.Obviously, POCO, as a young division within Xiaomi, does not have enough capacity to launch the smartphones they see. For this reason, some models are tracing paper from the Redmi line.

At the beginning of the year, in an interview with representatives of the brand, I heard promises that POCO does not plan to give up, and fans are waiting for bright smartphone designs. And they didn't cheat!

The new POCO M5 has bright (albeit calmer) colors and a textured back.


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And this is great news, since there are not many models on the market with eye-catching designs.

However, let's leave the unbridled enthusiasm, let'slet's look at the evolution of POCO M series smartphones in Russia. First, let's take a look at the technical specifications. Just in case, I will explain that there was no regular POCO M4. There were 5G, Pro, Pro 5G versions. And the "firmware" without 5G is just responsible for the usual numbered version.

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (11 nm), Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver), Adreno 610 graphics MediaTek Helio G96 (12 nm), Mali-G57 MC2 graphics MediaTek Helio G99 (6 nm), Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55), Mali-G57 MC2 graphics
operating system Android 10, MIUI 12 shell Android 11, MIUI 13 shell
Memory 4 GB / 64/128 GB, separate microSD slot 6/8 GB / 128/256 GB (LPDDR4X RAM + UFS 2.2 storage), separate microSD slot 4/6 GB / 64/128 GB (LPDDR4X RAM + UFS 2.2 storage), separate microSD slot
Screen 6.53 inches, IPS LCD, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5 x 9 aspect ratio, 395 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 450 nits brightness 6.43 inches, AMOLED, resolution 1080 x 2400 pixels, aspect ratio 20 by 9, dot density 399 ppi, 90 Hz, 700 nits, Always-On, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 6.58 inches, IPS LCD, 1080 x 2408 dots, 90Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 500 nits brightness
Battery Li-Po 6000 mAh, fast charge 18 W, reverse charge Li-Po 5000 mAh, fast charge 33 W, 100% in 60 minutes Li-Po 5000 mAh, fast charging 18 W
Main camera 48 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/2.0", 0.8µm, PDAF
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide angle), PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 119˚ (ultra wide)
2 MP (macro)
50 MP, f/1.8, (wide angle), PDAF
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
Front camera 8 MP, f/2.1, (wide-angle), 1/4.0", 1.12µm 16 MP, f/2.5, (wide angle) 5 MP, f/2.2, (wide-angle), 1/5.0", 1.12µm
SIM card 2 Nano-SIMs
Network and data transfer 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 5, 2.4GHz & 5.0GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, IR, USB Type-C 2.0 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 5, 5.0, A2DP, LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, NFC, IR, USB Type-C 2.0 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.3, A2DP, LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, NFC, IR, USB Type-C 2.0
Sensors Fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, proximity, compass Fingerprint scanner (side), accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, lighting Fingerprint scanner (side), accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, lighting
Other Has FM radio, has IR camera There is a 3.5 mm jack, there is NFC, there is FM radio, there is IP53 There is a 3.5 mm jack, there is NFC, there is FM radio
materials Gorilla Glass 3, plastic frame and back
Dimensions 162.3 x 77.3 x 9.6mm, 198g 159.9 x 73.9 x 8.1 mm, weight 180 g 164 x 76.1 x 8.9 mm, weight 201 g
Start price 13,490 rubles / 14,490 rubles from 22 490 rubles 170 euros, or 25,000 rubles

First, I want to pay attention to the price.In rubles, the difference is significant, but in hard currency the prices are about the same. For M3 and M4 at the start of sales, they asked for $ 200, the new M5 was priced at 170 euros, which, if the dollar was not strengthened to the best of its ability / the euro weakened, it would also be around $ 200. I set the price in rubles for POCO M5 at random, based on how much smartphones currently cost on the Xiaomi official website.

Secondly, it is amazing to see a 5 MP camera in a smartphone in 2022. Even the POCO M3 had an 8 MP camera.

Thirdly, in general, it is impossible not to notice that the smartphone saved on everything that was possible. On the title promo shots, they bashfully cover the top of the screen.

Because they used a screen with a teardrop notch. Formally, there is nothing wrong with this. Great screen, just visually teardrop-shaped cutouts have been outdated for a couple of years.

Another point is charging. The smartphone is equipped with an 18 W charger (as, indeed, the original M3 model).

As a plus, it can be noted that the lineslowly but developing. For example, POCO M3 in the AnTuTu test knocked out a little more than 200 thousand points, the new Helio G99 should receive at least 355 thousand points. And in general, the chipset, made according to the 6 nm process technology, is perhaps the main innovation in the smartphone. Well, a 50 MP camera module.

I noticed that the last 2-3 years the developmentlow-cost smartphones have all slowed down. Often they change the design a little, put some one new “piece of iron” and release it. From a journalist's point of view, life is boring. From the point of view of the consumer of inexpensive smartphones - a real joy. These modern flagships quickly become obsolete. Every day new technologies, chipsets, cameras, cooling systems and so on. And an inexpensive smartphone in the segment up to 20 thousand rubles has a much longer moral life cycle. Even if the owner of such a smartphone looks at the market a couple of years later, he will not see significant changes.

Premium smartphone market

Counterpoint Research has shared data on the premium smartphone market for the second quarter.

A premium smartphone in Counterpoint Research is any smartphone over $400. On the one hand, this is logical, since the average price of a smartphone in the world was $322.

By the way, in Russia with the average price of a smartphonedue to the past pandemic and the special events of 2022, strange things are happening. People, postponing vacations and anticipating a shortage, switched to more expensive devices, and then gray imports began.

Below is a chart by year with the average price of a smartphonein rubles and dollars, recalculated at the average exchange rate for the year. It would be more correct, of course, to weigh everything on average, but let's not complicate things. It's nice that the well-being of the inhabitants of Russia is growing.

For comparison, in dollars, the average price of a smartphone in the world has dropped from $331 in 2013 to $322.. So by 2022 Russia has caught up with the world. And then overtake!

But back to the world market. Counterpoint Research shows an interesting split by segment.

See what a huge increase in the proportion of smartphones worth more than a thousand dollars. At the same time, the share of the $800-$999 segment immediately fell. Usually, younger versions of flagships fall into this segment.

Buyers who have kept their incomes after the pandemic, seeing rising inflation, are trying to enter the recession with the least losses, preferring to buy a flagship with an eye on several years.

The segment split chart is best viewed frommanufacturers' market shares. Winter is coming, so buyers are not ready to play games, trying new manufacturers in the premium segment. Choose only trusted brands - Samsung and Apple.

I suppose you, like me, were interested in the growth of the category "Others" (Others). In this category, Honor has the most weight. The brand is actively trying to get back into the world market leaders.

But there are sad moments on these charts.Notice again the price split. At the very bottom is the Affordable Premium segment ($400 - $599). This segment sank by 35% year-on-year. And in general, if you look at the chart, dropping the segment above $1,000, you can see how buyers poured down. Those who previously chose the $800-$999 segment, massively descended into the $600-$799 segment. But, as you understand, the situation hit those who chose the 400-599 segment the hardest. They switched to cheaper devices.

Experts are sure that the top segment (from 1,000dollars) and will continue to grow even if the market falls. Flagships from Samsung, Apple, new smartphones with a flexible screen will spur sales. But in segments 400-999 sales will continue to flow down to more affordable devices.

In general, of course, the result is obvious.The difficult economic situation in the world is already beginning to be felt by all segments of the population, with the exception of the stratum whose income allows you to buy an expensive smartphone. Rather, the situation also affects this layer, but so far to a lesser extent.


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Request Engineers, or Whispers

Enjoyed playing with Midjourney over the weekendexperimenting with requests. To be honest, this turned out to be difficult. For example, it took me 5 requests with 4 subsequent variations for Midjourney to draw me a dragon drinking coffee and reading a smartphone. Initially, I asked for the dragon to sit at Starbucks, but in the end I refused this in order to make it easier for artificial intelligence (and most importantly, for myself) to work. At the same time, in the Discord channel, you can see how other users make requests to Midjourney. Obviously, some people come there for very specific results. They carefully iterate queries, changing the position of the words, the words themselves, adding descriptions, and so on. Quite a lot of those who generate logos.

This is my coffee dragon request. I collected several options so that it was clear how I started and how I ended.

Having fun with Midjourney and looking at requestsother users, I caught myself thinking that over time this could turn into a profession. And it turned out that I was hopelessly outdated! The profession already exists - a query engineer.

In English, it is informally called AI.WHISPERERS, that is, "AI whisperers." But so far, the "whisperers" have not finally formed. In general, this is logical, given that neural networks are just coming into use (although a couple of years have passed since the launch).

At the moment, the profession of a whisperer resemblesthe first NFT artists. Everyone drew something, turned it into NFT and put it on the marketplace. It's the same story here. Promtbase ( has become a marketplace for whisperers. There, anyone can post requests for DALL·E, Midjourney or GPT-3.

For example, here is a set of metal icons for 2Euro. Very profitable. I guess I need to explain. The buyer receives not a set of icons, but a file with a hint, that is, a description of the request. The icon seller says that with the help of the request, it will be possible to generate black metal icons of any item through the DALL·E neural network. Know only substitute names. Then click on the "upscale" button and unload yourself.

Or here is an example request for GPT-3.GPT-3 is a natural language processing algorithm. GPT-3 is able to write articles, books on given topics, retell what has been read. The latter is just being sold in this lot. For $3, they offer to buy a bot that can annotate books. Ideal for bookstores, right?

For example, the book "The Art of War" received suchDescription: The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC. It is one of the oldest and most influential works on military strategy. The book had a profound impact on both Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy, and more. The work remains relevant today as a guide to strategic thinking and decision making.”

Or, for example, an algorithm for copywriters -media insights. In the algorithm, you need to specify the name, area and genre, and the algorithm will select the 5 best samples. For example, you might be asked to pick the top 5 comedy TV shows. The algorithm will not only select the shows, but also explain what is so special about them. Nearby, they sell an algorithm for generating posts on Linkedin, in which you specify the topic and target audience and get the text of the post. There is also a “problem solver” (personal coach). You specify the problem, and the algorithm gives you a step-by-step solution.

Obviously, such neural networks in the near futurewill change the professional landscape in the future. Why order an illustrator to draw icons or typical pictures for an article when a neural network will do everything quickly and much cheaper in an instant.

Above is an example of DALL·E operation, which can be purchased.Again, the buyer receives not just ready-made illustrations, but a customized search query that will display images in a given genre. You just need to change the target requests - a woman reading a book, doing yoga, etc.

I suspect that readers may get the wrong impression that requests are a simple matter.

On the one hand, it is.However, here we must understand that we are not talking about a couple of words. Not really. For each genre and plot, there are requirements and tricks. There are already books and courses where you can learn how to play with words correctly. Start explaining basic things.

So far, all "whisperers/query engineers"are a mixture of programmers with a humanitarian streak who know how to use Photoshop. The technical side allows you to better understand exactly how the neural network works, the humanitarian side gives a flight of thought, and Photoshop allows you to correct the result.

In fact, so far not a single neural network has entered thecommercial access. These are all beta versions, and those who use them act as testers. Obviously, the final products have huge commercial potential. And, most likely, in 2-3 years, large companies will hire "engineers on demand" in marketing and advertising departments. Given the speed of neural networks, multiplied by the professionalism of a specialist, one employee will be able to cover all the company's internal needs for illustrations or generating product descriptions on the site.

However, it is far from complete replacement. Rather, at the first stage, editors and illustrators will be presented with a new requirement: the ability to work with neural networks.

In theory, when using a neural network,to increase labor productivity, which, in turn, will lead to a decrease in the cost per illustration. That is, freelancers will be paid less, and companies will be able to process simple orders on their own by purchasing the necessary “request” on the exchange.

P.S. Today Apple will show the new iPhone. Be sure to come tomorrow to discuss!