Gartner forecast smartphones equipped with generative AI (GenAI) capabilities would account for 22 per cent of models shipped in 2024, but cautioned the technology would not boost overall demand until 2027.

Senior director analyst Ranjit Atwal stated while current GenAI improves functions across cameras and voice integration, users expect those type of updates.  

“They are unlikely to pay a premium for GenAI smartphones without the availability of any ground-breaking applications.”

Gartner noted the catalyst for a shift in smartphone user experience will be the advancement of large language models designed specifically for the devices.

This will turn smartphones “into even more intuitive companions capable of comprehending and responding to human language and visual cues, which will elevate the overall user experience” to new heights”.

Gartner highlighted Google’s Gemini Nano, Baidu’s Ernie and Open AI’s GPT-4 as examples of GenAI already featured on smartphones.

It expects 240 million GenAI-equipped smartphones to ship this year compared to almost none in 2023.

Gartner added smartphone shipments returned to growth in Q4 2023 after nine consecutive quarters of declines. It predicts shipments will rise 4.2 per cent to 1.2 billion units this year, though Atwal warned this is unlikely to signal a “full-fledged recovery”.