Why foldable smartphones are gradually maturing, but the iPhone is temporarily “indifferent”

Mobile phone manufacturers have never been so anxious.

Anxiety has two manifestations, one is calm to the extreme, giving up treatment completely, and the other is more confusing, it seems to work very hard, but it is all fuss.

In my opinion, bringing the smartphone out of the folded form is a mess .

The "loser" folded and made a comeback

With the promotion of mobile phone manufacturers, foldable mobile phones have once again entered the public's field of vision, with a total of four different folding forms.

The first one is to fold inward horizontally.

The representative of the horizontal internal folding is Samsung's Galaxy X Fold 2. By placing the screen on the inside of the folding angle and folding the left and right horizontally, Fold 2 successfully puts a 7.6-inch screen into a body of about 6.2 inches. Use another 6.2-inch external screen.

The second type is to fold out horizontally.

The representative of the horizontal outer folding is Huawei's Mate Xs. By placing the screen on the outside of the folding angle and folding and closing horizontally left and right, an 8-inch screen is successfully built outside the body of about 6.5 inches. No matter whether it is opened or closed, it is actually used. It's a screen.

The third type is vertical inward folding.

At present, both Samsung and Motorola are trying to fold the mobile phone vertically inward, folding a long screen vertically up and down, and carrying a small screen on the outside to display important information.

The fourth type is dual-screen folding.

The most popular recently is the Surface Duo. Two independent screens are folded inside each other. The advantage is that there is no need to worry about the folding of the screen and other issues.

In fact, in the era of feature phones and Symbian, folding is one of the important forms of mobile phones. For example, the popular Moto RAZAR, Sharp SH9110, LG KF350, etc., have become the first choice of many users due to their portability and unique appearance. .

However, the foldable phone eventually lost to the smartphone equipped with a candy bar screen, and was labelled a "loser".

The market ceiling has arrived

Mobile phone manufacturers have re-entered the "wrong way" of folding after more than a decade. The root cause is that after nearly a decade of development, smartphones have basically reached the market ceiling .

According to data released by Counterpoint, global smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2020 fell to 295 million units, while in the first quarter of 2019, this figure was 341 million units. In just one year, a drop of more than 13%, compared to 2019 480 million units in the fourth quarter, a decline of 28%.

▲ Related data of the mobile phone market in the first quarter of 2020. Picture from: Counterpoint

Not only that, but the market also exhibited the Matthew effect and partial differentiation.

From the perspective of market share, adding up the share of the top ten manufacturers in global shipments, the total share of the top ten in the second quarter of 2018 was 76%, and it reached 83% in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 6 percentage points. Close to 8%, competition in the mobile phone market has become a "big men's game . "

▲ The total share of the top five in the Chinese market is as high as 95%. Picture from: Counterpoint

The differentiation of the local market is also very subtle. According to the previous rules, the global market share of mobile phone manufacturers and their share rankings in various regions are not much different, but now the gap between the two values ​​is becoming more and more obvious, and the same manufacturer is in different markets There is also a big gap in the share.

Take the most representative Chinese market as an example:

Samsung's world market share is about 20%, and its market share in China is only about 1%.

Huawei's world market share is 17%. According to Counterpoint data, Huawei's share in the Chinese market in the second quarter of this year is as high as 46%.

Xiaomi's world market share is 10%, in China it is 9%, and in India it has reached 30%.

The above data shows that from a global perspective, the market where infrastructure can support the operation of large-scale smartphones has been emptied, and only a small amount of increase or expansion is possible in some markets. In a more mature market, it cannot be increased. Like a few years ago, relying on shoppers to rush forward, can only "grab someone else's cake."

Therefore, the competition of mobile phone manufacturers has entered the era of stock, and it is a more effective strategy to grab "replacement users" . Nowadays, maintaining a slight increase or not falling in share is something that mobile phone manufacturers should celebrate, because a slight increase or not falling represents the "blood loss" of competitors.

Technology to the ceiling

Hundreds of times zoom, 100W fast charge, several cameras, large battery, 120 refresh rate, 2K resolution, under-screen camera, etc. It is not denied that these technologies have pushed the experience of mobile phones to a higher level, but go further , The marginal effect of technology improvement is becoming more and more obvious, and the experience improvement brought by the same R&D cost is getting smaller and smaller .

It's like changing from Nokia's low-resolution and poor-touch screen to the iPhone 4's Retina multi-touch screen. The user experience improvement can be described as "burst". But upgrading from Retina to 2K, many people will not feel how "amazing".

▲ Rough resolution in the era of feature phones

In addition, the production process of the CPU has been upgraded from tens of nanometers to 12 nanometers, 10 nanometers, 7 nanometers, and 5 nanometers. In the future, it may enter the era of 3 nanometers or even 1 nanometers. What should be done after 1 nanometer?

For mobile phones, there are several core needs of users: communication, recording, entertainment, production and storage . This is also why many mobile phone manufacturers strengthen mobile phone signals, improve camera levels, enhance entertainment functions, increase productivity, software and hardware adaptation, and improve mobile phones. The reason for the capacity is that this path will come to an end. For example, in order to improve the camera experience, there are now 5 camera phones, so when the cameras become 6 7 or even 10, will it really bring a leap forward?

There must be an improvement, but the user's perception is becoming less and less obvious. It is difficult for users with a four-camera flagship phone to pay for an 8-camera phone. There must be something new to stimulate the user. 120 The refresh rate is increased to 240. Is it really "visible to the naked eye"?

▲ The screen folding technology is mature and perceptible. Picture from: engadget

The breakthrough of screen bending technology has given mobile phone manufacturers hope. To be honest, there are and only screen folding technology available for large-scale commercial use. This is the reason why mobile phone manufacturers choose to make folding screen phones. Folding screen mobile phone users can see and touch, and the new form of products that have never been experienced before are more attractive than mobile phones with one more camera .

With similar prices, which one of the latest generation of iPhones and folding screen iPhones can grab users better? Obviously the latter.

More than ten years ago, how did Folding fail?

Going back more than ten years ago, folding mobile phones are also considered to be the same for the time being, and the major stars also endorse for folding mobile phones. Even in 2015, the well-known singer Adele used an old folding phone in the song "Hello" MV. This behavior is regarded as a symbol of taste by many fans.

But why would a folding phone collapse to a bar phone? You know, before foldable phones and candy bar phones coexist in harmony, no one can absolutely crush each other.

Let's review the previous sentence: For mobile phones, there are several core needs of users: communication, recording, entertainment, production and storage.

In the past, feature phones encountered the same dilemma as today’s smartphones. They have developed to the ceiling. Users want to improve their experience by leaps and bounds. It has become impossible for foldable phones to leapfrog on these core requirements, and those equipped with smart systems Large-screen candy bar phones can do it.

Although both are called mobile phones, feature phones and smart phones can be regarded as two different things.

▲ The appearance is highly similar, and the era is completely different.​ Picture from: THE VERGE​

For example, communication can range from point-to-point, to one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many (WeChat). From text and sound to pictures and videos, applications, pictures and videos all need large screens to carry.

For example, it is recorded that the camera pixel has jumped from 2 million to tens of millions, and the photos have changed from hazy beauty to high-definition. Behind it is the large-screen candy bar phone that cuts off the keyboard to make more space for parts (especially the CPU), because smart systems require To drive more "heavy" parts, the first thing is to make room for the battery.

According to the mechanical folding technology at the time, using the folding form to carry these innovations would waste a lot of fuselage space, and the screen did not break through the technical barrier of folding, essentially because this form of mobile phone could not meet the user's leapfrog experience improvement needs. , So it is inevitable that folding phones will be eliminated .

Now, smartphones are also about to hit the ceiling, and the soul torture reappears: users want to leapfrog the experience of communication, recording, entertainment, production and storage, can it be achieved by folding the screen?

It's not.

If you fold it up, it might be a bit more convenient to take pictures and video calls. In fact, it’s still a CPU-driven smart system that takes pictures and video calls.

Can the entertainment video app be adapted to the folding screen to bring a new and disruptive movie viewing experience? Those who have experienced it should also understand. After the freshness, it can't be said to be amazing.

▲ Novelty, but no breakthrough improvement

Not to mention production, portable light office can also be said, when it is really heavy production, you still need PC and notebook.

Storage is the most inconspicuous. The physical storage space can be expanded. Cloud storage can be uploaded and downloaded, which can improve the experience. More depends on the innovation of network communication standards. Large-capacity storage and 5G are not only foldable phones. .

It can be said that when users really start to think, the marketing of those carefully packaged folding screen mobile phones is as dull as a silent black and white movie .

Right hope, wrong sustenance

I always believe in three things:

First, the leaps and bounds in communications, recording, entertainment, production and storage must be completed by new forms of products. Mobile phone, it's over . The replacement of new and old forms of products will take a while, and there will be repetitions of mobile phones temporarily overwhelming new forms of products.

Second, using a folding screen mobile phone to grab stock users will have a short-term effect , but mobile phone manufacturers can't hold high hopes. The reason is simple. If you do it, others can do it. In the mobile phone industry, it is common for the latter to do better than the first. However, for mobile phone manufacturers that do not have the strength to lead the industry, they can only follow up, otherwise they will fall behind.

Third, the innovation efforts of mobile phones, such as the recent screen folding technology, even if it does not effectively extend the life cycle of the mobile phone, it will certainly be of great help to the new form of products , just like the invention of freezing for aerospace. Dehydrated vegetable technology is the same for everyone and all industries.

Pinning the right hopes on the wrong things has always been one of the driving forces for the advancement of human society. The direction may be right or wrong, and resource adaptation may also be right or wrong, but this spirit is absolutely right and wrong, and it is worthy of encouragement .

Third-rate plan planner, second-rate mirror host, first-rate prodigal swingman

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