Mobile World Live delivers our top three picks of the week, with Vodafone Group signing a generative AI deal with Microsoft, Apple overtaking Samsung in smartphone shipments and Samsung adding Google AI to its Galaxy S24 range.

Vodafone teams with Microsoft in major AI push

What happened: Vodafone Group struck a ten-year partnership with Microsoft to bring the technology giant’s generative AI and cloud expertise to businesses, public sector organisations and consumers across markets in Europe and Africa where it operates.

Why it matters: The operator plans to invest $1.5 billion in cloud and customer-focused AI services developed jointly with Microsoft. Bloomberg reported Vodafone will use OpenAI technology running on Azure to streamline operations and sell more Microsoft services to enterprise customers, which is a priority.

Smartphone shipments grow in Q4 2023 as Apple leads market 

What happened: Canalys reported global smartphone shipments increased 8 per cent year-on-year to 320 million units in Q4, ending seven consecutive quarters of decline as Apple pipped Samsung to the top spot.

Why it matters: IDC group VP Ryan Reith noted a shifting of power at the top of the largest consumer electronics market was driven by an all-time high market share for Apple and a first time at the top of annual figures, which “certainly played a part in Samsung’s drop in rank”.

Canalys stated the iPhone showed resilience over the past two years due to solid demand in the high-end segment, but warned competition in China represents a challenge to sustained growth.

Samsung Unpacks Galaxy S24 packed with Google AI

What happened: Samsung and Google Cloud forged a multi-year partnership which included equipping freshly unveiled Galaxy S24 smartphone devices with generative AI capabilities.

Why it matters: Counterpoint Research forecasts more than 1 billion generative AI smartphones to be shipped between 2024 and 2027. It explained while hardware upgrades for the Galaxy S24 are iterative, the big story is a host of on-device AI experiences powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 platform.

Canalys research manager Amber Liu suggested Samsung’s move could spur a rebound as an innovation leader.