In February 12th, Samsung released the latest folding mobile phone Galaxy Z Flip.
Unlike last year's Galaxy Fold, Flip is smaller and more convenient. It uses vertical up and down folding, and the whole screen is 6.7 inches, Fold folded, and full screen 7.3 inches.
This is Samsung's first mobile phone to fold up and down, but it's not alone. Last year, Motorola released a Razr similar to a mechanical structure, priced at $1500.
While Flip has achieved a leap in price, it has directly explored $1380 (about 9600 yuan), which is even lower than its new flagship Galaxy S20 series. Compared with Fold (15999 yuan) and HUAWEI Mate X (16999 yuan), it dropped by more than 40%.
Samsung can further control the cost of the industry chain, and Flip has become the cheapest folding mobile phone available now. At the same time, the noise of external questioning also follows, such as small battery capacity, false demand, ineffective innovation and so on.
It is true that folding equipment is not mature from product to industrial chain. But innovation comes from iteration, and technology giants need to occupy niche in new technologies.
Folding up and down and glass cover plate
First of all, to analyze the most interesting points of Flip, one is the vertical up and down folding.
This involves the trade-offs between portability and operability. Compared with ordinary smart phones, the Flip screen is not much larger, but it can become very compact after folding, emphasizing portability and becoming a pocket device. There is a view that mobile phones have entered the stage of handheld devices and wearable devices from pocket devices. Now people are putting mobile phones in their pockets for a very short time. Therefore, smart phones often sacrifice a little convenience to meet greater operational interaction capabilities. Of course, perhaps Samsung and Motorola's judgment is that mobile phones will also be pocket devices and are willing to invest more.
It needs to be pointed out that the mobile phone folded up and down is essentially different from the previous flip phone. The mobile phone just makes compromises for portability. After opening and folding, the screen size is the same, but the interaction device keyboard is displayed, and the display efficiency and interaction efficiency are not raised. But now, for example, Flip, based on portability, promotes at least 2 times the display efficiency. Its interaction screen is 6.7 inches, and the folded screen is half the size.
Another point of view is the first commercial glass cover. As we all know, on the OLED screen, there is also need to protect the screen, support folding of the cover plate, which is very important for folding performance. Previously, the folding phones were made of CPI (transparent polyimide, a plastic), and Samsung was the first to combine glass material with CPI.
Chen Jun, deputy general manager of QQ consulting, told the twenty-first Century business news reporter: "the Galaxy Z Flip released by Samsung this year is much better than CPI in collapsible ultra-thin glass (UTG:Ultra-Thin-Glass). Compared with CPI protective cover, super thin glass has high hardness, but it is fragile, especially when the bending rate is very small. To this end, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip adopted a combination of CPI+UTG, that is, covering a thin layer of CPI protective film on ultra-thin glass, on the one hand increased the surface hardness of the cover plate, while reducing the fragility of UTG, and greatly improved the reliability.
Hu Wei, general manager of Dong Lihua, also pointed out that although CPI has the characteristics of flexural resistance, high transparency and unbreakable, its hardness, impact resistance and optical effect are not as good as collapsible glass. For example, CPI anti scratch ability is poor, prone to scratches; CPI impact protection ability is poor, when the external force strikes, CPI inside the OLED screen is easy to be destroyed. The flexible ultrathin reinforced glass has enough hardness and can protect the inner OLED effectively even when the flexible glass ruptures when subjected to external force impact.
In Hu Wei's view, with the development of folding screens, collapsible ultra-thin glass will eventually replace CPI. And glass cover manufacturers have been investing in R & D to commercialize technology, such as Corelle, AsahiGlass, NEG, Schott, ECONY, East Lihua, DoInsys and so on.
Although mechanically speaking, the up and down folding is not a revolutionary innovation, but from the perspective of interaction and material, it is groundbreaking, including glass cover technology, hinge technology, supporting arbitrary angle folding and so on. The new compact pocket design also has cost considerations. After the supply chain costs fall, the popularity of folding screens can be promoted, and then there will be more room for extension.
Folding wind, who will pilot?
Although public opinion has a negative noise on the new folding phone, we have to say that Samsung is leading the trend of the folding screen, and constantly debugging the core industry chain, such as the core screen. The significance of Flip mobile phone may not lie in sales, but because Samsung will continue to gain a foothold in the industry chain of folding screen technology.
Some people say that foldable cell phones are pseudo demand and pseudo innovation. An industry insider told the twenty-first Century economic news reporter: "a good product is of course important and even opens up a new era. But with immature products, good products will come into being. The key is that we are constantly innovating in order to select shortcuts in many innovations. This is the result of extensive screening. It is a process of iterative evolution. We have to do a lot of experiments. We need to make horizontal folding screens and vertical folding screens. If we want to make big screens and Zuo Xiaoping, then the market will be possible, and the market and supply chain will complement each other. "
It is very important to dare to try, dare to integrate the supply chain and dare to control the cost, because this is not an easy decision, not a solution to the end of a screen. For Samsung, especially Motorola, it may be desperate to try, maybe the product may not succeed at the end, but their impact on the industrial chain is very far-reaching. Moreover, Samsung has been able to ship now, and it has also made preparations for supplying millions of magnitude.
In other words, Samsung is thinking about the industrial chain. It wants to raise the trend of folding, even if it does not sell folding phones in the future, it can also continue to sell folding screens.
In 2020, giant mobile phones will be available.
In October 2018, Sofie released the world's first folding screen mobile sofdog. In 2019, it was the first year of the development of folding screen phones. Samsung, HUAWEI and Lenovo's folding phones were also officially launched. Chen Jun said that in the future, more terminal brands such as Samsung, HUAWEI, millet, OPPO, Lenovo and so on will be placed in the layout of folding products, and more folding products will be released in 2020 -2022.
According to the data of the series of research reports on Intelligent folding terminals, there are about 700 thousand sales of global folding smart phones in 2019, of which about 450 thousand are shipped by Samsung, and the sales of global folding intelligent terminals in 2020 are estimated to be about 4 million, representing an increase of about 519% over the same period.