Can the “folding screen” reproduce the unconstrained form of mobile phones?

It is undeniable that smart phones are becoming more and more "boring", their appearance designs are becoming more and more the same, and their functional characteristics are inseparable. Many people get a mobile phone, not to look at the appearance, but to install the App in the first place, and share it with a tail.

Smart phones, which are becoming more and more mature, have gradually become industrial standard products. From the old phones, they have gradually transformed into an Internet hardware portal. The excitement is in the virtual, while the smart phone is a bit "exhausted."

When we see past feature phones, we always sigh, and miss the past "horribly unimaginable" mobile phone form. It seems that technology is advancing, but industrial design is at a loss in the torrent of time.

The smartphone has become a boring little square box

"Apple killed the fun of electronic products." I often think about the convergence of smart phones now, I always think of the phrase Mike Murphy of Quartz site Tucao .

The emergence of the iPhone can represent the advent of the "smart phone" era, and a corresponding small square box with a screen has gradually become the standard form of smart phones.

▲ Smart phones that look alike. Picture from: nextpit

The limitation of the large screen prevents the form of mobile phones from developing arbitrarily. Naturally, the very different shapes and mechanical designs of the Nokia era were thrown into the "history" together with the concept of functional phones.

However, in the early days of smartphones, due to system and screen experience issues, the sliding full keyboard as an auxiliary input is still one of the mainstream forms of Android, and HTC and Motorola have quite well-known products appearing.

▲ Motorola Milestone 3. Picture from: gizmodo

After a series of shackles such as screens, processors, and systems have been resolved, smartphones have completely embarked on an "integrated" highway. But is the integration of the fuselage and the mechanical structure incompatible?

On the one hand, the integration trend of the fuselage is constantly streamlining the holes on the fuselage, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the detachable battery are all abandoned. Even some manufacturers have tried to replace the volume buttons with screen touch. In this way, smart The phone is more like an airtight box.

▲ OPPO N3. Picture from: cnet

On the other hand, some manufacturers have not stopped studying the mechanical structure, and there is no lack of corresponding products. OPPO's N series is an example of this.

In order to be able to provide better self-portrait effects and follow up the trend of taking pictures, OPPO puts a mechanical rotating mechanism into the mobile phone, and completes the functional and experience upgrades through mechanical rotation.

From the current point of view, the reference of this complex rotating mechanism on OPPO's N series is actually for function, and it is a bit far from "integration".

Two roads to “full screen''

Just as the iPhone led the era of smart phones, the emergence of iPhone X has also accelerated the evolution of the “full screen” of mobile phones. The advantage is that we can finally use the big screen in a small size, but the disadvantage is the popularity of "bangs".

▲ Screens of different shapes. Picture from: Gizmodo

Therefore, how to eliminate the screen gap and provide an excellent screen-to-body ratio has become a breakthrough idea for mainstream products nowadays.

At this time, it is roughly divided into two camps, the screen group and the body group.

The screen pie focuses on the context of the screen, trying to narrow the "gap" of existence. The fuselage faction is based on the structure of the fuselage to solve the problem of achieving a full-screen form.

The popular perforated screens and Liu Haiping are actually a compromise. For now, under-screen cameras are their ultimate magic weapon. With the emergence of some under-screen camera products, the "gap" disappearance technique has also begun to announce the arrival of the era of true full screens.

In order to achieve true screen integration, the fuselage group introduces the mechanical structure into the fuselage, hides the camera in the fuselage by mechanical lifting, and merges the two contradictory technologies of integration and mechanical structure. Together.

At that time, OPPO, which had already made mechanical mechanisms on the fuselage, hid key components such as 3D structured light, front camera, earpiece, rear dual camera, etc. in Find X’s "Dual Track Submersible" in order to pursue 100% screen-to-body ratio. Wang" structure.

Find X also showed the ultimate form of "integration". There is no notch on the screen, no protrusion on the back, and flawless.

Of course, in order to achieve this, it is difficult and costly. However, with the accumulation of technology in the previous N series, OPPO is like an "expert-like existence" in this field.

The motor technology in the lifting module in Find X was born out of the previous OPPO N series, and the two structural personnel in the Find X team were also responsible for the design of the rotating camera for N1 and N3.

It can be said that the innovative design of Find X is inseparable from the research and accumulation of OPPO's mechanical structure at that time.

The "folding age" explored by all employees

However, after the surprise, the entire industry blew the wind of 5G and "thin and light", which had strict requirements on the heat dissipation and arrangement of the fuselage, and the mechanical structure once again stood on the opposite side of the demand, and the mechanical structure was once again "Snow Treasure" has been in the era of "folding screens".

To say that the "full screen" may have two branches to achieve, the folding screen requires both screen innovation and mechanical folding structure. It is more like a technical master.

In terms of the current product form, whether it is a screen or a mechanical folding structure, it is still in the groping and forming stage. After two generations of replacement, the screen protection layer has developed from PET film to UTG glass, temporarily providing a certain degree of protection.

The mechanical folding structure is faced with a series of challenges such as life span and damping feel. How to reduce screen creases also tests whether the design of the folding mechanism is exquisite.

More importantly, the "full screen" is more like a complement to the smartphone form, rather than opening up a new track. The folding screen with a two-in-one shadow is more like a brand new track. Functions, scenes, and facing the crowd all need to be rethinked, and the product is not a simple opening of the screen.

For this, the screen protection layer has to be changed, the mechanical structure has to make good trade-offs, and the software system naturally has to take into account different forms of user experience. After all, the folding screen is still a very "pioneer" device, both at the hardware level and at the software level.

▲ OPPO Find N.

This morning, OPPO, which has launched many mechanical structure works before, launched a folding screen product that lived up to expectations and named it OPPO Find N. It was not too early.

In fact, for this kind of products that are somewhat close to two-in-one, OPPO launched the OPPO X 2021 reel concept machine last year, which is similar to a folding screen, and it also has two forms.

However, OPPO X 2021 uses built-in dual motors to control the retracting of the screen. The process of change is like the opening and closing of a "picture scroll", completing the change from a small screen to a large screen.

In order to strengthen the quality of the flexible panel, a Warp Track screen dynamic area skeleton stack is built into the OPPO X 2021 body. At the same time, the system level will also change with the change of the screen size.

Although it is only a "concept phone", OPPO X 2021 is highly completed, and the combination of mechanical structure and flexible screen is mature enough.

From the OPPO X 2021 concept machine, OPPO has long set its sights on the folding screen.

For the indispensable mechanical structure on the folding screen, OPPO has an accumulation of N series, Find X and even X 2021 products. Being attributed to the Find series also implies that this is a product with enough exploration.

From the currently announced product folding form, Find N is different from any folding product on the market. It is not folded vertically, but horizontally. In this case, the proportion of small screens is quite normal, and the overall area after folding Control is smaller.

From now on, the solution to the folding screen is not from 0 to 1, but from 1 to more. Such a change process, or morphological change, is also a test of manufacturers' thinking on the level of product usage.

With years of technical accumulation of mechanical structure, in the face of various problems existing in the folding structure, perhaps OPPO will "handle", and the unique folding form, perhaps OPPO has its own understanding of "two-in-one" equipment.

Like the name Find N, OPPO's folding screen may also be a product that combines design and experience.

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