I don't know if you are like me, and occasionally miss the era of feature phones, the form of mobile phones is as wonderful as a hundred flowers bloom.
Since the Android manufacturers fully launched in 2010, for a long time, we can only buy mobile phone products with similarities. The all-inclusive "bar" design and similar front face, as if a smartphone can only be, or should be like this.
Of course, what is more missed is the paper reading experience.
Paper prints can achieve extremely high printing accuracy, and can also be folded into energy rolls, with variable shapes and friendly to eyesight. The development of current electronic products, to a certain extent, is also approaching the paper viewing experience: increasing pixel density, filtering blue light, folding screens, electronic ink screens…
In the past two years, the shape of smart phones has undergone unprecedented changes. We have seen the mechanical structure represented by the lifting camera, the dual-screen display mechanism of the front and rear screens, and the return of sliding and folding phones a few years ago.
Among them, the arrival of folding screen mobile phones is considered to be the most likely form of taking over the current mobile phone form. After all, the ability to fold the screen has challenged the perception of many people, and it seems to belong to the "future."
But I always believe that folding screens shouldn't just be these two forms, and cannot be constrained by the word "folding". After all, from a macro perspective, "folding" is a product of flexible screens, and flexible screens can definitely have a richer display form.
When the flexible screen appears on the phone, how can it change besides folding? At the OPPO Future Technology Conference just held, OPPO gave its own answer.
Scroll screen, freely retractable like a picture scroll
The concept machine that OPPO released this time is called "OPPO X 2021", which is different from the common "folding" screen. It plays a new trick on the flexible screen and introduced a "scroll" screen design.
Simply put, OPPO X 2021 uses a stepless OLED flexible scroll screen. In the unstretched state, it looks like an ordinary curved screen mobile phone with a size of 6.7 inches. However, after pulling out the hidden screen, it will immediately transform into a small tablet, with a maximum size of 7.4 inches.
The way to stretch and retract is also very simple, just slide on the fingerprint unlock button to unfold.
If you want to retract the screen, just swipe down or double-click the power button area.
According to OPPO’s introduction at the press conference, in order to make the screen unfold and retract in a softer and smoother way, OPPO designed the “Roll Motor” powertrain: two built-in drive motors output a constant force for Control the screen to expand and retract, so that the screen is evenly stressed during the movement, which can effectively prevent the screen from being damaged when it is suddenly stressed.
▲Schematic diagram of two drive motors
After experiencing the real machine on site, I found that the overall feeling of the screen being pulled out and retracted was smoother and smoother. When it was opened, it was a bit like watching the "sacred edict", and the overall degree of completion was high.
This kind of feel is realized by a pulley bearing. On the movable side of the OPPO X 2021 fuselage structure, a pulley bearing with a diameter of about 6.8mm is placed. The screen can always move along the central axis to ensure that the screen is smooth and uniform during bending.
Why should the diameter be set to 6.8mm? It is understood that this number is relatively close to the bendable diameter of the OLED flexible screen after being stressed, ensuring that the flexible screen hardly produces creases after bending.
According to the hands-on effect, it is almost difficult to perceive the OPPO X 2021 screen crease with the naked eye. The stretched out part is well "connected" with the original screen, without giving people a sense of visual division.
In fact, before experiencing the real machine, I was more curious and worried about whether the scroll screen would not be flat enough after being pulled out, with a concave look. But after the experience, the performance of OPPO X 2021 still dispelled my worries. One is that the unfolded screen is very flat, and the other is that it has high hardness, and it feels like an ordinary glass screen when pressed by hand.
According to OPPO, this is because it uses a "dual matrix embedded clutch structure." How to understand? Simply put, there are two left and right pallets inside the fuselage. When the screen is unfolded, one of the pallets can slide out synchronously. When closed, the two pallets can be seamlessly spliced into the same plane.
▲The "pallet" at the bottom of the screen
What's interesting is that in the process of stretching the screen, the outer frame and the back glass battery cover will move with the screen. The biggest advantage of this design is to ensure that the screen is still reliably protected in the unfolded state. And this "dynamic frame" will also reduce the abrasion at the edge of the screen and extend the life of the screen.
Even if it is a conceptual engineering machine, the overall design completion of OPPO X 2021 is not bad. The line design on the back of the fuselage is very dynamic, and the material is still glass and metal.
Is it better to fold or reel?
Since the birth of a flexible display with a thickness of only 0.01 mm in 2014, imaginations about flexible displays have followed. However, for an innovative technology to be applied to a mobile phone, the development and debugging cycle will not be short, and it will generally last as long as three years.
So four years later, we saw Rouyu, Samsung, Huawei and other brands have launched the first generation of folding screen models. From 2018 to the present, these folding screen phones have also evolved to the second generation. However, they are all based on the previous generation, improving the hinge and structural stacking process, so that the user experience and machine life can be improved.
However, the current flexible screen market is still full of uncertainties.
The reel plan given by OPPO this time is more like another evolution of a folding screen mobile phone. To be precise, OPPO has given a better answer to the question of how to present the form of a flexible screen mobile phone.
Except for the almost disappearing creases, the volume control of the scroll screen is better than the folding screen of the same size. The size and weight of the OPPO X 2021 have not yet been accurately calculated. In terms of hands-on experience, compared with the thin iPhone 12 Pro Max, it is not too thick, and the weight is well controlled, without the feeling of falling hands.
Reflected in daily use, the burden on the trouser pocket is much smaller. In the past, the folding screen mobile phone was placed in the trouser pocket, which would be very visually prominent. If you want to squat down, you may need to learn from Master Ip Man.
The size of OPPO X 2021 will not be annoying, and it has a great advantage in portability.
In addition, the biggest advantage of the scroll screen is that the screen size is more flexible. In the past, folding screen phones could only switch back and forth in the largest or smallest display area. The scroll screen can realize stepless size adjustment, which will bring more imagination and richer usage scenarios to the flexible screen.
According to OPPO, when watching a video, whether it is 16:9 or 4:3, you can get a full-screen viewing experience without black edges. When reading e-books or editing documents, it can be adjusted to the size that best suits the user's vision and grip to ensure the best reading experience. In addition, you can also play the game while reading the message pop-up window, the game and pop-up window screens do not interfere with each other, and can be displayed on the screen completely.
With the further enrichment of the software ecology, it is believed that the potential of the scroll screen will be further released, bringing more possibilities in terms of productivity, entertainment, and daily use.
Innovation is not a day’s work
As mentioned above, it takes three years or more to deploy an innovative technology on mobile phones. OPPO introduced at the press conference that during the development of the OPPO X 2021 reel concept machine, it has laid out 122 patents, including 12 core patents related to the reel structure.
Looking back, in fact, OPPO's exploration of the form of mobile phones has started in the early years. I wonder if you remember the N1 phone released by OPPO in 2013. Its 206-degree freely rotating camera makes it very personal.
The OPPO N3 released the following year retained this feature and upgraded the manual rotation to a more intelligent electric rotation. The pixels were also upgraded to 16 million pixels, making it one of the strongest camera phones in the Android camp in 2014.
In 2018, the release of OPPO Find X further refreshed the upper limit of the screen-to-body ratio of mobile phones. Through the dual-track periscope structure, the camera and up to 11 components were hidden inside the mobile phone, becoming the world's highest screen-to-body product at that time.
The Reno series that was released later also "played a lot of fun" with lifting cameras. There are "sliding type" and "slope type", all of which are very distinctive.
However, in the exploration of mobile phone terminal form, OPPO X 2021 can be said to be its most innovative design in recent years, reflecting OPPO's technical strength in the field of flexible screens and structural stacking.
In addition, the OPPO X 2021 screen processing technology is also worth mentioning. In theory, the thicker the screen module, the stronger the resilience of the screen when it is bent, making the screen more difficult to bend.
To this end, OPPO X 2021 has self-developed the “framework stacking of the screen dynamic area” solution, which uses extremely high-strength steel as the main material, and the thinnest part is only 0.1mm. With the linear pattern etched on the surface of the laminate, it provides With sufficient support, the resilience of the screen module can be greatly reduced.
Viewed from the side, the frame stack in the dynamic area of the screen is a bit like the track of a tank. It protects the screen without increasing resistance. It is a very clever solution.
Although it is a concept phone, OPPO X 2021 also achieved a good display effect in terms of screen look and feel. When watching videos and pictures, the color performance and fineness are good.
This is not surprising. Starting with Find 5, which pioneered "screen aesthetics", to Find X with a new high screen-to-body ratio, to the first Find X2 series with 120Hz refresh rate + 3K screen, you can see that OPPO is in Work on the screen.
In general, OPPO X 2021 is a concept phone worthy of flowers and applause. However, in terms of software ecology, OPPO still needs to spend more time polishing, forming a set of gameplay that matches the "scroll screen".
Some people may ask, "It's just a concept machine, what's so exciting about it"? In my opinion, the meaning of the concept machine is more like a window of future technology, which can provide consumers with a forward-looking vision and pry into the beauty of cutting-edge technology. After all, "no concept, no future."
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