Samsung wants to use “folding screens” to block large-screen iPhones

The time hands are set back to 2011.

After Samsung released the Galaxy Note, everyone was in an uproar. Facing the 5.3-inch "giant screen", one after another questioned "how to use this" and "how to bring it out of such a big screen". BGR even gave the Galaxy Note the "most useless phone" hat.

▲ The first generation of Samsung Galaxy Note. Picture from: YouTube.

In the era when "one-handed control" was regarded as the norm, the 5.3-inch large screen that turned out to be unquestionably resembled a stone thrown in a pool. To be precise, it should be a bomb.

The opening of the big screen era

With the industry's doubts and heated discussions, the first two generations of Galaxy Note sold 38 million units, frustrating the predictions of many critics.

▲ Samsung Galaxy Note series (1st to 7th generation). Picture from:

Galaxy Note has also created a new category of "Phablet" that spans mobile phones and tablets with its own strength. It has also successfully launched Samsung's strategy of two more flagships a year. Galaxy S focuses on integration, and Note focuses on large screens.

When the volume of the "big screen" became louder, and other Android manufacturers began to imitate the big screen phones, Jobs said the classic saying, "3.5 inches is the golden size of mobile phones, and the bigger screen is foolish."

Although the iPhone 5 released in 2012 expanded the screen to 4 inches, its width has not changed, so to be precise, the screen should be "stretched" for excellent "one-handed control."

▲ Emphasize the iPhone 5 that can be controlled with one hand.

To this end, Apple made an advertisement for the iPhone 5 with the theme of "Thumb", emphasizing that under the compact size of the iPhone 5, any manipulation of the fingertips is an excellent enjoyment for the senses, and it also satirizes the nonsensical nature of the large-screen Note. Manipulation.

▲ iPhone 5 is known as the one-handed gold size iPhone 5.

In addition, Professor Jack Dennerlein of Northeastern University in the United States put forward a "small and wonderful" theory, "If the screen size of the mobile phone exceeds the maximum reach of the thumb, it means that the user experience will be greatly reduced." Think that "bigger" is not necessarily "better".

The debate over the coolness of the big screen and the beauty of the small screen did not come to an end until the advent of the iPhone 6 in 2014. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, according to Jobs' standards, should all be considered large-screen phones.

▲ Galaxy Note 5 vs iPhone 6s Plus. Picture from: androidauthority

It was the iPhone 6 series, which was initially involved in the "big screen", which became the highest-selling model of the iPhone in all dynasties.

It seems that Jobs has missed the trend of "big screen"?

Strictly speaking, this is not the case. In the era of iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, the basic needs such as making phone calls and communication are still being followed, and it is natural to emphasize one-handed holding and one-handed control.

With the development of 3G and 4G network technologies, making calls is no longer the primary demand for smart phones. Internet access, social networking, mobile games, and streaming media have all become the main needs, and smart phones have gradually become personal mobility centers, or A personal computer.

At this time, a large screen that can carry more information has become an essential element of smart phones at that time. And we no longer only use one hand to control the phone, but more use both hands to control it.

From Samsung's perspective, it is right to bet on the "big screen" trend.

Samsung gambles on "folding screens"

And ten years later, in 2021, Samsung is ready to bet on the "screen" again, this time it is still the "big screen."

▲ Lu Taiwen, President of Samsung, who is ready to lead us into the “folding era''

Recently, Samsung President Lu Taiwen confirmed that the Galaxy Note series is "old" and replaced by two folding screen phones of the Galaxy Z series, Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold.

▲ Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. Picture from: the Verge

Relatively speaking, the "folding screen" that has evolved to the third generation has not been as successful as the Note series. The first-generation Galaxy Z series of folding screens have been on the market with twists and turns, and the fragile folding screens and high prices have kept ordinary consumers away.

▲ The screens of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip are very fragile. Picture from: reddit

Even though innovations in craftsmanship, materials, and design have been made on the second-generation Galaxy Z series, the screen has become "strong" a lot.

Whether it is the horizontal folding of the Galaxy Z Fold or the vertical folding of the Galaxy Z Filp, they can all be regarded as a "two-in-one" device, which is a combination of small screen and large screen, taking into account the needs of portable and large screen.

  • Galaxy Z Fold: a combination of mobile phones and tablets.
  • Galaxy Z Flip: a combination of small-screen mobile phones and large-screen mobile phones.

Coupled with the "novelty" form of the screen that can be folded, it has brought a complete differentiation from other products. Even if the price is still high, it has not stopped the sales of the Z series from climbing to a new high.

According to Yonhap News Agency, 60,000 units of Galaxy Z Fold 2 were sold within three days of opening the pre-order. While Z Flip sold 230,000 units globally in March 2020 alone, the Galaxy S20 series during the same period was lower than expected.

▲Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 renderings (Furong in the water).

The shape of the folding screen has gradually matured in hardware, and the new generation of Galaxy Z series has even added the three-proof feature of IPX8, which is almost similar to that of ordinary smartphones.

However, the software and ecology have not evolved together. The advantages of the large screen that have been developed seem to remain in the Note series, which are more inclined to entertainment and games, and have not expanded with the expansion of the screen.

▲ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. Picture from: XDA

In other words, now that people pay more for the folding screen is driven by "curiosity" rather than demand, which is different from the success of the Galaxy Note series.

"How to turn a folding screen mobile phone into a personal mobile entertainment and office center" is not just the dilemma faced by the Samsung Galaxy Z series, but a problem that needs to be solved for all folding screens that are currently on the market.

Will "folding screens" replace paper as the new medium?

It is not surprising that the Galaxy Note series has been replaced. The essence of the previous Note series is the large screen and S Pen.

However, as the screens of the Galaxy S series are getting larger and larger and the S21 Ultra supports S Pen, the shapes and characteristics of the S series and the Note series are getting closer and closer.

In the industry, the Galaxy Note, which blocked the iPhone, is becoming more and more powerless. Not only is it compared to the iPhone, but in the face of new phones from other Android manufacturers, the advantages of the Galaxy Note series in initially winning the market are constantly being wiped out.

As a result, Samsung gave the folding screen Galaxy Z series the important task of blocking the iPhone in the second half of the year. Samsung President Lu Taiwen even called out "Prepare to lead users into the folding era."

Compared with the iPhone, the folding screen has enough differentiation, and can meet a variety of needs at the same time, and even has the potential to carry more needs. Moreover, the Galaxy Z series, which has sufficient premium capabilities, can even be on par with the ever-increasing price of the iPhone.

▲ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs iPhone 11. Picture from: Phonearena.

In Samsung's eyes, the Galaxy Z series, which has a folding form, will be a strong opponent of the iPhone.

Communication scholar Yinis proposed time-based media and space-based media in "The Bias of Communication". The former is heavier in texture and durable, and the latter is light in texture and easy to transport.

The early oracle bone inscriptions, book slips, and parchment were time-biased media, while the later period papyrus and paper, which were easy to overcome spatial obstacles, were space-biased media.

And Yinis believes that the evolution history of human media is a history of development from a heavier texture to a lighter texture, from a biased time to a biased space, and is in harmony with the progress of human civilization.

According to this theory, the "screen" is likely to be a new medium to replace paper. The screen is lighter and easier to spread (transport).

The emergence of folding screens is a simulation of paper form, but the high cost is temporarily unable to be compared with paper. Therefore, it is still too early for the screen to replace paper as the medium of the near future.

▲ There is news that Apple may be preparing to enter the "folding screen". Picture from: 9to5Mac

"Folding screen" is to enlarge the screen under the premise of solving the problem of portability, and expand the screen from a large-screen mobile phone to a tablet computer. When this trend is long-term, the demand for large-size screens continues to expand. At this time, the borderlessness of AR augmented reality may be able to meet. Without boundaries, the amount of information can expand indefinitely, and this may be the future of "screens". It is more like replacing the current paper and becoming a new medium.

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