In 2021, mobile phones may fight the “anti-aging war”

2020 has passed, and for mobile phone manufacturers, a new round of chaos for flagship phones has begun. For example, the newly released Xiaomi 11 series and the new vivo X60 series.

Before the official start of the battle for the "machine king" in the first half of 2021, I boldly predict a new trend in the mobile phone conference: more and more manufacturers will emphasize their anti-aging test results when they release new phones.

When it comes to anti-aging tests, we think of the durability of materials. For example, whether the metal frame of a mobile phone is easily oxidized during use; the plastic of the back cover of the fuselage, how long is the service life, etc.

▲ Oxidation problem of iPhone 6S back cover. Picture from: unwire

But in fact, we rarely change the phone because of the aging of the fuselage, and manufacturers will not take the risk of using immature materials to make mobile phones. Our main motivation for updating mobile phones comes from the lag of the previous model, or the interest in some features of the new model (or simply being rich).

The service life of a mobile phone is often determined by its fluency. When we felt so frequent stuttering during use that it became unacceptable to us, this phone was judged to be "end of life" even though its hardware was still intact.

Therefore, the anti-aging test mentioned at the beginning is not a durability test of the hardware. It is a test of the fluency of the phone and how long it can last.

▲ Picture from: marketingland

The battle against aging has begun

Emphasizing the smooth lifespan of mobile phones at the press conference seems to be the first for Huawei.

In 2016, when Huawei released Mate9, it claimed that it would not freeze for 18 months. Even after 18 months of continuous use by heavy users, the overall performance of the mobile phone can still maintain 80%.

Since then, Huawei’s flagship models will almost always emphasize their anti-aging capabilities. By the Mate40 series released in October 2020, the anti-aging ability has been further improved, and "36 months of long-lasting smoothness" can be achieved.

The data shown by Huawei shows that after 36 months of simulated use, the smooth performance of Mate40 Pro will only be reduced by 2.5%, which is twice as low as Mate20 Pro.

In addition to Huawei, we have also heard the "anti-aging ability" publicity at the Xiaomi press conference before. When Xiaomi 9 was released, Xiaomi stated that it would bring the "anti-aging system" function to the MIUI system, and upgrade this function to all Xiaomi and Redmi models. Xiaomi said that after 18 months of simulated use, the MIUI system reduced the freeze by 35%.

▲ Picture from: Aijiwei

At the recent Reno5 series conference, OPPO also emphasized that this series of mobile phones has achieved "30 months without freezing." The "AI self-smooth system" on the mobile phone can provide "30 months of smooth escort".

Under the "led" of manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO, we have reason to believe that more and more manufacturers will join the "anti-aging war". Emphasizing the anti-aging ability of the new phone should become a new trend in the mobile phone conference.

Anti-aging test, how to test?

What is curious is where did these anti-aging ability data come from, and are they credible?

The first thing to be clear is that these test data are not the testers, the results given after 18 months, 30 months or even 36 months of real use, but the conclusions drawn by a set of simulation test procedures.

What is the simulation test process? In fact, the standards of each brand are inconsistent. For example, Huawei cited the test data of the German testing agency "CONNECT". At the Huawei Mate20 Pro conference, Yu Chengdong specifically emphasized that the data was not tested by Huawei, but only listed the test results of CONNECT.

However, in the lower right corner of the Mate20 Pro and Mate40 Pro anti-aging test chart, there is a very small line that reads: "The test model is jointly defined by CONNECT and Huawei."

▲ Picture from: Huawei terminal official Weibo

Looking through the public information, I only found the test model used by CONNECT when testing the Huawei P9 series and P10 series. At that time, CONNECT used manual tests, machine tests, and third-party tools to simulate the aging of the mobile phone, and then used the operating speed of the mobile phone aging hand to compare with the operating speed of the mobile phone when it left the factory to draw test conclusions.

The steps to simulate aging are divided into six steps. One is to restore the phone to factory settings; the other is to copy small files to the internal storage space; the third is to copy media files such as pictures, music, and videos to the internal storage space; the fourth is Copy large files until the phone storage space becomes full; fifth, delete some small files through a specific mode of a third-party tool to make room for fragmentation; finally import data such as address book, messages, call records, and install applications.

After completing the above six steps, the phone becomes an "old phone". Then use humans and machines to test the response speed of the "old phone". For example, testers turn on the camera and take pictures; open and delete text messages; open gallery, web pages, and so on. During manual operation, the high-speed camera is used to capture, and the time taken to complete each operation is recorded in milliseconds.

▲ Picture from: CONNECT

From the results, the performance of Huawei P10 equipped with EMUI5.1 has dropped by about 12%. Huawei P9 equipped with EMUI4.1 has a performance drop of nearly 63%. As a reference Samsung S7 (equipped with Android 7.0), the performance dropped by 195%.

However, the above test process belongs to the older test model of CONNECT. When Huawei's Mate40 series was released, it stated that its basis for "36 months without freezing" came from the latest test model of CONNECT. But so far I have not found any information about the detailed test process.

Unlike Huawei, the anti-aging test conclusions claimed by Xiaomi come from its own Xiaomi laboratory.

Lin Bin, the co-founder of Xiaomi, once revealed on Weibo that Xiaomi has conducted extreme stress tests on the system, including memory fragmentation, storage fragmentation, file system management, storage space management, and disk read and write speed (IO speed) after aging. In order to achieve the goal of "no lag in 18 months".

OPPO Reno5, which recently joined the "Anti-Aging War", although citing third-party data like Huawei, it cites test data from my country's Thiel Laboratory.

According to the data, the administration of Tyre Laboratory is under the Ministry of Information Industry Telecommunications Research Institute (CATR). The anti-aging performance certificate issued to OPPO Reno5 series this time relies on its laboratory "Mobile Intelligent Terminal System Anti-aging Performance Test Plan V1.0".

The specific evaluation process is actually similar to the CONNECT model. It mainly fills in small files, deletes small files, fills in database files and multimedia files (pictures, audios, videos), and installs applications according to the value specified by the aging model to make the phone age. The state required by the model; by testing the application cold start, application hot start, application installation time, camera performance, boot time before and after aging, and score the test results, and finally determine whether to issue an evaluation certificate based on the score.

▲ Scoring criteria. Picture from: Thiel Laboratory

Are these types of tests credible?

For the public, it may seem dull and boring to delve into the anti-aging evaluation process. What we care about is whether these evaluation results are reliable?

Before exploring the scientific nature of the anti-aging model, we need to know why the mobile phone "the more it is used, the more it gets stuck."

Many friends believe that the culprit of mobile phone lag is the processor's hip pull, but it is not. As the usage time of the mobile phone increases, the fragmentation of files will also reduce the running speed of the mobile phone.

The smart phone will distribute and store files of different sizes in different areas. The data required to execute the command is not loaded in the same block, but needs to be read from the storage area repeatedly. When the mobile phone has been used for one or two years, these fragmented data will increase. Finally, the database used to store messages, contacts, photos, audio and video, etc. is very complicated. It will take longer. This is the culprit of cell phone lag.

▲ Picture from: gsm-support

The experimental models of CONNECT and Thiel Labs are mainly established for the problem of file fragmentation.

Among them, the model of Tyre Lab is based on the TAF standard "TAF-WG2-AS0021-V1.0.0 2018 Mobile Smart Terminal File System Aging Model and Evaluation Method Based on Android Operating System" and "TAF-WG2-AS0053-V1. 0.0 2020 "Aging Performance Evaluation Method for Mobile Smart Terminals".

The former was drafted by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology and is relatively credible. The latter was jointly drafted by China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., OPPO Guangdong Mobile Communications Co., Ltd., and Beijing Samsung Communication Technology Research Co., Ltd., with the participation of enterprises.

The above TFA standard defines the test methods and evaluation methods of mobile phone aging. Regarding 18 months, 30 months, and 36 months without freezing, how are these durations determined? In fact, there is also a corresponding aging model in the TAF standard, which is not the case for manufacturers.

However, the rigor of these tests must be determined by professional technicians. In my opinion, these tests are carried out under ideal conditions. For example, if the hardware aging factor is not taken into consideration, there is still room for improvement.

Meaning more than gimmick

When manufacturers boasted about their new products and made breakthroughs in hardware, suddenly there were several voices that emphasized the optimization of software, which is very rare.

For ordinary users, the current hardware specifications are not as strong as the experience brought by software optimization. When we buy a mobile phone, we all hope to use it for one year, two years or even longer without lagging.

The "anti-aging war" is to transfer the hardware battlefield to the software battlefield. Although it seems that slogans such as "No lag for xx months" have the taste of some gimmicks, this phenomenon means that the smartphone market is developing at a mature stage. Brands not only pay attention to the performance of new phones, but also It is undoubtedly a good thing for consumers to care about the experience of old users.

▲ Picture from: pcmag

With the maturity of domestic systems such as MIUI, EMUI, and Color OS, each major version update is bound to emphasize the optimization of animation, performance, and resource management. The stuck situation of old mobile phones can be effectively improved through system upgrades.

The era of "Speaking of Android, it must be said that the more you use it, the more you use it" will be gone forever.

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