The foldable smartphone market still needs to lead the way

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Today, the foldable smartphone market is very lively, but the novelty of foldable smartphones seems to be disappearing quickly. In fact, homogenization is already a problem that foldable smartphones have to face.

From a practical point of view, the purpose of foldable smartphones is to break the high homogeneity of the current smartphone market in a foldable form, and to open up new markets with potential experience advantages such as entertainment and productivity brought by large screens. market.

Market development: foldable smartphones are on the way

Of course, from a market development perspective, foldable smartphones may be heading towards that goal.

Data from the “Smartphone Market Tracking Report for the Fourth Quarter of 2021” released by market research agency Omdia shows that by the end of 2021, the cumulative global shipments of folding screen smartphones will reach 11.5 million units, which is the first folding screen since 2019. A new record since the launch of the smartphone.

With the entry of all manufacturers and the continuous drop in the price of foldable smartphones, from 2021, the sales of foldable smartphones will show a rapid growth trend. Omdia predicts that the global folding screen smartphone market will reach 14 million units in 2022; by 2026, the folding screen smartphone market will reach 61 million units, accounting for 3.6% of the total smartphone market.

At first glance, this data seems to perform well, but considering that there is still a four-year time period from 2026, and the further development and improvement of the foldable product supply chain in this four-year period A further drop in product prices.

Then look at the annual sales of these 61 million units, and it does not look so good-you must know that this is not the sales data that can be achieved by one manufacturer, but the total sales of all manufacturers. Compared with the current sales of traditional high-end smartphones, it is also dwarfed.

Data from the “2021 Mobile Phone Sales Annual Report” released by Counterpoint shows that the global high-end smartphone (more than $400) market share also hit a record high in 2021, increasing to 27%. If the global smartphone shipments of 1.35 billion units in 2021 are used as the base, it is not difficult to find that the sales volume of high-end smartphones in 2021 will be about 360 million units.

Therefore, under this reality, it is still a long way for foldable smartphones to compete in the market.

Breaking the homogeneity: The foldable smartphone mission is only half done

From the perspective of breaking the homogeneity of smartphones, it may only complete half of its mission.

Compared with traditional smartphones, its foldable form does make it different in form, but for these foldable products themselves, they have already fallen into a high degree of homogeneity – whether in In terms of morphology, or in terms of interaction mode, even the homogeneity of interaction mode is more serious than that of morphology.

From the perspective of foldable form, the inward folding route is already the mainstream trend. Although the outward folding retains the last stubbornness, compromise may only be a matter of time; and in terms of the interactive form, it is almost following the interaction of Samsung’s original Fold products. Path forward – multi-angle hovering under the support of hinges, multi-screen interaction, circulation, multi-tasking, etc. Of course, there are further optimizations in software adaptation here.

All this makes the foldable smartphone jump out of a river with one foot, but step into another river with the other foot.

Now we can almost foresee what manufacturers can do in foldable smartphones – nothing more than equip the product with a better imaging system, a better screen, a larger battery, and further optimize software adaptation, Improve product productivity performance, optimize crease performance, optimize product weight, and more.

This is almost all the tricks that manufacturers can play on foldable smartphones. This reality, even if Apple enters the market in the future, it is very likely that it will be difficult to change, and it will not be able to jump out of this development path.

It can be said that the foldable smartphone market still needs to lead the way.

Jumping out of the inherent thinking may be a new way out for the smartphone market

But in all fairness, the dilemma of “the debut is the peak, and the end is at a glance” that appears on foldable smartphones may not be that manufacturers do not work hard, but that the smartphone industry has entered a bottleneck period, and it can even be said that smartphones The industry has become PC-based.

Although it cannot be said that smart phones are a sunset industry, after all, there is no product that can replace the role of smart phones, but the reality that is consistent with the PC industry at the beginning is that the smart phone market has lost its sense of surprise and imagination.

It can be said that it is already a highly defined track, and in a highly defined track, the reality is that no matter how hard you go, the finish line is already clear.

Obviously, if you continue to follow this road, it will still bring about homogeneity and continuous involution. In order to break this reality and bring new vitality to the industry again, in the view of Linzhang, manufacturers may need to jump out of their inherent thinking and use new thinking to transform the current smartphone market.

Just as the current smartphone manufacturers use mobile phone thinking to create PC products, and the new car manufacturers use electrification and intelligence to build cars – with a new thinking path, a new track and a new user experience are opened up.

Take PC as an example, but with the entry of smart phone manufacturers, when it comes to building PC products, smart phone manufacturers have introduced mature mobile terminal technology into PC products, bringing “full screen, thin and light” to PC products. , long battery life, fast charging, strong interaction” and other typical characteristics of smartphones, especially at the level of ecological interaction, their performance is more obvious.

This kind of “mobile phone thinking” brings the obvious improvement of the PC experience, and also makes the PC products with the sunset label once again show a new look.

This is especially true for the automobile industry. With the new four modernization trends of automobiles, especially in the two major trends of “electricity and intelligence”, the new driving methods and experience modes brought to automobile products have brought the automobile industry into a A brand new competitive track.

All of this may be a new direction to try for the smartphone industry, which is currently in deep homogeneity and urgently needs to find a new way out.

But what kind of new thinking can act on the smartphone industry requires manufacturers to try to crack it.

(Disclaimer: This article only represents the author’s point of view and does not represent the position of

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