A piece of news recently brought me back to the 2010s.
The United Kingdom announced that it will ban operators from selling locked phones, including iPhones, at the end of 2021. This reminds me of the telecom operators custom-made machines I once purchased, except for telecom cards. For a long time, they were "as deep as the sea when entering telecom, and since then, mobile phones are not easy to buy."
Fortunately, with the popularity of all Netcom and even the emergence of number portability services, there is no such worry anymore. Operator customized phones are just one category in the entire customized mobile phone. Now it is becoming less and less common, but the entire category of customized phones has ups and downs, but it has never died.
After the contract machine, the customized machine entered the niche market
The operator contract machine should be the most familiar customized mobile phone. In the era when the operator’s business halls are all over the country, the first mobile phone bought by many people is the operator contract machine, and they can often only use one operator. There will also be many operators’ customized software.
On the one hand, the disappearance of the operator’s customized machine is because it appeared to promote the operator’s 3G and even 4G communication package services and promote user upgrades. As the number of users increases, its role is gradually reduced. Operator subsidy policies It will also be cancelled, and the contract phones launched by four mobile phone manufacturers, mainly Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad, and Lenovo, will gradually decrease.
▲ Picture from: Sina Technology
On the other hand, most of the contract phones launched by mobile phone manufacturers and operators are low-end and mid-end phones, and most of their profits are subsidized by operators. Therefore, the number of mid- and low-end phones launched by mobile phone manufacturers is increasing. But this is not conducive to the development of the industry.
Only with high-quality and flagship product strategies can domestic mobile phones compete with foreign manufacturers.
With many changes, the contract machine disappeared. Moreover, this trend is not limited to China. Even in the United States, which has a large number of contract machines, operators such as AT&T have also provided unlocking channels, and they can apply for unlocking from operators when the corresponding conditions are met. The mobile network is not limited to one operator.
After operators contracted machines, there was no custom machine that could go to such a broad market, and custom machines became more and more niche.
▲ Neolithic X9
Like the three-proof customized mobile phone we reported earlier, it was born specifically for the industrial market. According to the Neolithic X9, the overall shape design of the three-proof customized machine X9 is very tough, the overall thickness is relatively thick, and the common metal, glass and other materials are all It did not appear on it, but a large amount of plastic wrapped it.
The express delivery industry is one of the main industries for such three-proof customized mobile phone applications, and its customized programs and systems with cameras can quickly complete work such as scanning codes and receiving.
▲ SF Express customized mobile phone
In addition, X9 also provides an expansion port. Agricultural drone manufacturers such as Jifei will use the expansion port of X9 to implant communication modules and customize corresponding programs, and use mobile phones to complete operations such as spraying.
The Neolithic X9 is actually more like an industrial terminal. This product has also appeared in the PC field before it. In addition to the industrial field, the political and business field is another target field for customized machines.
Mobile phone manufacturers, including vivo and Xiaomi, have entered the field of government and business customization machines. Most of them customize existing mobile phone models. OPPO provides OPPO Reno4 series customization. The scope of customization is not exactly the same, but most of them include pre-installed software, built-in communication services, mobile phone hardware customization, etc. The application areas include finance, medical care, education, etc.
Among them, the most frequently mentioned is the "dual domain" service, which is actually a mobile phone with two systems, one for office and one for personal, which is convenient for users to switch back and forth. Government-enterprise customized machines mainly focus on information security considerations and enterprise-customized software requirements.
In the consumer market, there have also been customized products such as celebrity customized phones. The celebrity Han Geng’s customized mobile phone Geng Phone that appeared in 2013 is a typical case. The celebrity’s blessing has given it a great influence, but this influence It is not sustainable. Just as the influence of celebrities will change, consumers will still have to pay for the product power of their mobile phones.
Custom phones that can truly exist in the consumer market for a long time now seem to only have a variety of co-branded customized phones. Several domestic manufacturers have almost launched co-branded customized phones, but their significance is not limited to sales.
The significance of co-branding customized machines is not just for sales
It is already a very common thing for mobile phone manufacturers to co-brand other brands and IPs to launch customized mobile phones. Domestic mainstream mobile phone manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo have launched co-branded customized mobile phones. Compared with ordinary mobile phones, joint customized mobile phones There are certain adjustments in appearance design, system content, and even hardware.
▲ OPPO Find X2 League of Legends S10 Limited Edition
Why are mobile phone manufacturers keen to launch co-branded customized mobile phones?
In addition to selling, co-branding is also a marketing method. Huawei is the earliest manufacturer of co-branded customized machines among the aforementioned companies. In 2016, Huawei co-branded Leica on the P9. The joint cooperation mainly focused on the two aspects of camera and algorithm, and then even became the permanent residence of Huawei flagship models. The partners are different from the strategy of frequently launching customized machines of different brands.
▲ Picture from: Phoenix Technology
The joint name with the camera brand is on the one hand to enhance the ability and effect of mobile phone shooting, on the other hand, to enhance its own recognition in the market and the brand field and expand its influence through the endorsement of the camera brand's quality.
In addition to camera brands, auto companies are the type of brands that have more joint names with mobile phone manufacturers. The history of automobiles is undoubtedly longer than that of mobile phones, and their brand recognition has long been known to the public. And mobile phone brands co-branded car manufacturers. It is also the long-standing and influential brand recognition of car brands.
Previously, OnePlus and McLaren jointly launched the OnePlus 6T McLaren customized version. The purpose is to borrow the McLaren brand to endorse itself. As a sports car manufacturer, McLaren is also known for its "speed" and has almost Symbolic cognition has formed in the public mind, and McLaren is the representative of speed.
This is in line with OnePlus’s strategy of emphasizing the speed of mobile phones and strengthens OnePlus’ perception of “speed” in the public mind. Similar co-branded car companies such as iQOO co-branded BMW and OPPO Find co-branded Lamborghini are similar. Improve brand awareness and influence.
In addition to co-branding major brands, it is also a common strategy for mobile phone manufacturers to jointly name various IPs to launch customized phones. Among them, OPPO and vivo are brands that have launched more IP customized phones. OPPO has co-branded with EVA and Gundam. , Co-branded products are not limited to mobile phones, smart watches, bracelets are also involved.
Vivo has launched a joint customized version of NEX 3 trisomy, while iQOO, a sub-brand of vivo, has co-branded One Piece. Co-branding with a well-known IP is more of entering the IP-related cultural circle, and then affecting the people who love the IP.
The Find X2 S10 limited edition launched by OPPO this year is to strengthen OPPO's influence among e-sports fans. Of course, OPPO has also launched corresponding advertising aids in addition to co-branding mobile phones.
Of course, the specific implementation is the special customized design on the customized machine. Generally speaking, they are co-branded or IP-related elements. The yellow U-shaped light pattern on the customized version of OnePlus 6T McLaren, the full set of League of Legends on OPPO Find X2 Customize themes, icons, wallpapers and more.
▲ OPPO Find X2 League of Legends S10 Limited Edition, limited to 3000 sets
Similarly, the price of the co-branded customized version is relatively high, and the quantity is still very limited, obviously the brand meaning is greater than the sales meaning.
Co-branded customized machines, although they provide various customizations in product appearance, system, and even functions, they are probably very few in number. The main purpose of the manufacturers to launch co-branded customized machines is to impress more users to understand the brand and promote the brand through the joint name. Influence, pricing, until purchase.
This means that the co-branded custom machine, like the industrial custom machine of the Neolithic X9, is a niche product.
Customized mobile phones may just be our simple "delusion"
Customizing a mobile phone may be the dream of digital product enthusiasts. With the development of the Internet, this "dream" seems to be realized step by step, and consumer opinions can reach manufacturers through various channels.
Since the establishment of the Meizu Community, fan operation has become one of the strategies used by mobile phone manufacturers to expand their brand influence and influence consumer decisions. As mobile phone users, we can express our opinions in the official community, Weibo, WeChat and other channels.
▲ Meizu is the first batch of domestic mobile phone manufacturers to apply fan operation strategies
Xiaomi is the master of this set of gameplay. In addition to the original Xiaomi community, the MIUI system is updated weekly and gives users suggestions and feedback. On Weibo, Xiaomi executives even began to organize group marketing to communicate with fans. The opinions have been raised to an unprecedented height, and it seems that customizing your favorite mobile phone is in front of you.
But is it really so?
The answer may be no. In the decades of smart phone development, a highly industrialized market mechanism has been formed, and the share of domestic mobile phone manufacturers has become more and more fixed. Under this mechanism, mobile phone product design tends to pursue a maximum The common divisor is the optimal solution for mobile phone design.
Some people like small-screen flagships, some like hole-digging screens, and some people like straight screens… But a closer look reveals that in this year’s mobile phone market, flagship phones have used curved screens and front-cut hole designs all over the place. Under the trend of full screens, the fronts of mobile phones have become more and more similar.
The small screen flagship is also a menstrual post in the mobile phone circle. On mobile forums, Weibo and other social media, users can often see that they are looking forward to the small screen flagship phone, saying "it is out! Must buy." The small screen flagship products on the market did not increase.
In the past two years, small-screen flagship phones such as Samsung S10e and Sony Xperia 5 appeared, but this year, whether it is flagship or low-end products, small-screen phones are becoming fewer and fewer, and only Apple has launched the iPhone 12 mini. Such a small screen product.
▲ Samsung S10e and Samsung S10+
why? Because small-screen mobile phones are not easy to sell, it is difficult for consumers who are accustomed to large screens to return to small screens, and smaller screens mean that the size of the machine becomes smaller. This also means that the battery of the mobile phone is reduced and the battery life is reduced. In the smartphone market where anxiety is getting worse, not many consumers are really willing to buy small batteries.
Consumers who express their needs for small-screen flagships on the Internet are after all only a small number of people, and this "minority" cannot even impress mobile phone manufacturers to launch customized mobile phones for them.
Customized mobile phones may just be our pure "delusion."
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