The words in the names of consumer electronics products are not made up out of thin air and probably have several layers of meaning.
▲ iPhone 14 product sequence pictures from: cnet
Judging from the classic Apple-style naming, the early Air and Pro are simple functional attribute distinctions. On the current iPhone, the numbers, Pro, and Pro Max are a positioning difference.
This rule can also be established on Apple's M-series chips. Even if the user may not be an expert in consumer electronics, relying on this basic rule, they can distinguish the positioning of the product at once.
In the non-Apple camp, each manufacturer also had such a set of naming rules earlier, and the use of suffixes is actually more inclined to express the unique attributes of the product.
Among them, Samsung always likes to create some new suffixes, directly expressing the corresponding unique attributes.
Like Note, Edge, Flip, and Flod, almost every word accurately summarizes the characteristics of the product.
▲ Samsung Galaxy Note Edge image from: cnet
However, as the "trends of tomorrow" change, some products come and go, and are eventually replaced by others.
Note is one example, and so is Edge.
Samsung: curved screen is not the best solution
About two years ago, Samsung included the Note product line into the S series, and created an Ultra, which is a super-large cup and still retains the S-Pen.
And Edge, literally translated as "edge", refers to extending the display area (screen) to the edge.
▲ Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung's earliest product, the Galaxy Note Edge, made the screen into an exaggerated arc that extends to the middle frame.
At that time, Note Edge was also like Fold a few years ago, as an "easter egg" at the press conference. Of course, it was also somewhat similar to one more thing.
The Edge suffix has also gradually expanded to the S series and Note series, and the curved screen has also become an attribute of Samsung products. It has been the same until now.
▲ Honor Magic 5 Pro Image from: Android Authority
At the same time, curved screens have also become a unified element of Android camp products, from flagships to mid-range products. As a result, the novelty brought by curved screens is rapidly diminishing.
On the contrary, the curved screen does not protect the screen enough, the edge is prone to chromatic aberration, and the disadvantages such as incomplete display are also magnified.
Just like OLED screens and LCD screens in the past, straight screens and curved screens have also become a battle between two factions among enthusiasts.
▲ Left: Galaxy S22 Ultra, Right: Galaxy S23 Ultra Picture from: crast
In the latest Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung designers did a little work to reduce the curvature of the S22U, leaving only a slight curve on the side of the screen.
If the operating area is used as a reference, the screen of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is almost a "straight screen".
▲ Left: Galaxy S22 Ultra, Right: Galaxy S23 Ultra Image from: Android Authority
After the release, Samsung revealed to 9to5Google that compared to the previous version, the arc on both sides of the Galaxy S23 Ultra has been reduced by 30%, and the straight screen area has increased by 3%, which is a very obvious visual change.
The viewing area and the working area of the S-Pen are almost all straight screens, and when writing and drawing, they will no longer be disturbed by the curved screen.
However, this approach also has a disadvantage, that is, the border appears thicker and has less visual impact.
In the words of 9to5Google, Samsung's approach is a bit retrograde, but it is full of practicality, and it is closer to the iPhone's direct screen concept.
▲ Mi 13
From the perspective of the screen alone, the straight screen form has greater advantages, but the curved screen is more advantageous in design.
They are more like a spear and shield in the product, and it may be difficult to have an optimal solution.
Surfaces and curves are no longer cool
The reason why Samsung likes to bend the screen is that it basically wants to take advantage of the flexibility of the AMOLED screen.
When Edge was born, or in the process of the curved screen gradually becoming a feature of high-end products, it was also the era when OLED materials and LCD materials competed.
▲ iPhone XR, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS
Determined that OLED display panels are the future of Samsung, the focus is not only on the product form to keep up with the trend, but also the idea of promoting OLED screens.
From Edge to subsequent products, screens with large curvatures better demonstrate the advantages of flexible screens.
In addition, with the full screen and the pursuit of the ultimate chin, the OLED material has gradually become the mainstream.
In the past few years, Samsung's mobile phone screen panel shipments and market share have far exceeded 50%, and it is significantly ahead of the second and third place BOE and LG.
With the help of the OLED screen, the multi-curved body and extremely narrow chin also made the product very attractive and full of unique design sense at that time.
The famous Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí once said that straight lines belong to humans and curved lines belong to God.
The prevalence of curved screens and the use of a large number of curves on the back make related products look cool.
Not only Samsung, Apple's iPhone 6 to iPhone 11 is also good at using curved body and curved screen.
But relatively speaking, no matter how it is bent, the operation and display areas are still facing straight.
Until the iPhone 12, Apple bid farewell to the curved surface and returned to the straightforwardness of the iPhone 4 period.
During the iPhone 6 to iPhone 7 period, the iPhone mainly wanted to follow the unibody style, and the aluminum alloy back was formed in one piece similar to MacBook Air.
Later, in order to be compatible with wireless charging, it returned to the sandwich structure. The double glass body also brought about the problem that the body strength is not enough.
Apple's solution, most likely, is to remove excessive elements and protect the screen and back with an aluminum alloy/stainless steel frame.
In addition, the super-ceramic crystal screen technology that appeared on the iPhone 12 may not be easy to make a curvature, and simply embrace the straight screen completely.
Straight screens and right-angled edges have been the design language of several generations of iPhones.
As the iPhone with a very high shipment volume in the market, it seems to be leading the trend of a curved screen, and the straight screen has also become a signature feature of the iPhone.
▲ Mi 13 Pro
The curved screen has gradually become the standard configuration of Android, while the straight screen is a feature of the iPhone. Whether it is a straight screen or a curved screen, they are no longer a screen feature that can make the market shine.
Folding and rolling screens have become new cool features
The reason why Samsung compromised on the curved screen is actually looking for the next screen trend.
Since the cancellation of the Note series, the two folding screens of Fold and Flip have been replaced, almost implying that the foldability of the screen has also become one of the elements of cooler products.
At the same time, in MWC 2023, which was held offline for the first time in three years, TheVerge said that a trend of this year's conference is scrolling screens, and the usability has become more mature than in previous years.
Simply bending the screen does not show its particularity. How to fit a larger screen into a smaller body is more likely to be the next technological development direction.
Even if the screen changes such as folding screens and scrolling screens are still inseparable from the mechanical structure, the differentiation it brings is somewhat similar to the impact that curved screens brought to the market when they were first launched.
The mobile phone market is declining, but the niche emerging market is still expanding. And there are not many manufacturers of folding screen and scrolling screen products entering the game.
There will still be many entrants in 2023. They may not expect that these products will bring much growth to their sales, but it is more like a means of promoting soft and hard power.
Just like, Samsung is launching Flod and Flip products and righting them to become the main products that will attack the iPhone in the second half of the year.
There is one reason for demonstrating soft and hard power, and the other is to promote one's own display panel business.
Constantly innovating and making the folding screen bigger, for Samsung, it is more like a kind of control over the screen technology, firmly grasping the trend of smartphone screen technology in its own hands.
Therefore, whether it is a straight screen, a curved screen, or a folding screen, for Samsung, it may not matter whether it is practical or not. The important thing is to bring out the characteristics of its own technology.
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