Huawei shows the latest folding screen mobile phone mate x2 at MWC Shanghai 2021 photo source: Vision China
Tencent technology news on February 22, Huawei released mate X2, the official price of 17999 yuan. At the present stage of chip outage, this mobile phone is also interpreted by the outside world as possibly Huawei’s last folding screen mobile phone. Huawei’s influence in the domestic smartphone market has been increasing over the years. In addition, mate X2 is a rare commodity. On the day of its listing on February 25, Zhongguancun’s mobile phone dealers had a sky high price of 40000 yuan.
Folding screen mobile phone, which was once ridiculed by the market, has become a popular product form in the niche market with the gradual maturity of technology. In 2021, more mobile phone manufacturers and upstream channels will enter the market. The folding screen mobile phone market may usher in a real spring this year and next.
Many upstream manufacturers began to lay out the folding screen industry
Omdia, a market research organization, gave a detailed market forecast report on the shipment volume of folding screen OLED panel last year. The report shows that the average annual shipment volume of folding screen panel will increase by 93.9% by 2026, and the scale of the whole folding screen smartphone market will also increase from 3.9 million in 2020 to 73.1 million in 2026.
With the gradual expansion of the market scale, more and more upstream manufacturers begin to lay out the folding screen industry chain. At present, in addition to Samsung display, many domestic and foreign panel manufacturers, including BOE, Rouyu, csot, Tianma and LG, have entered the market one after another. At the same time, behind the key design links of folding screen products, such as rotating shaft precision parts, screen cover panel and other industries, there are industrial giants such as Changxin technology in-depth layout.
After two years of development, folding screen and its related industries have gradually become complete, with the stage from self-sufficiency to open supply. This year, it is reported that Samsung display, the founder of folding screen, will sell folding screens to oppo, Xiaomi and Google. It is estimated that up to 1 million OLED folding screens will be supplied to different companies in 2021. The folding screen mobile phone products of oppo, Xiaomi and Google will also be launched in 2021.
Hou Lin, senior analyst of GfK, revealed in China electronic news that a big progress of folding screen mobile phones in 2021 will be the quantity. As the supply chain becomes more mature, many manufacturers will release new products; another progress is the price. Several models of folding screen mobile phones under 10000 yuan will be officially SOLD in the market, which will make it easier for consumers to accept folding screen Mobile phone information is helpful to market education. Although it is expected that the overall market space of folding screen mobile phone in 2021 will only be slightly higher than that in 2020, and it will still be in a level of magnitude, and there will be no breakthrough growth, the foreshadowing in the market will gradually take shape, which has fully prepared for the possible explosion of folding screen mobile phone in 2022.
Xiaomi apple into the market, or become a turning point in the market
At present, more than 10 folding screen mobile phones have been listed, mainly Samsung, Huawei and Motorola. LG, oppo and Xiaomi all demonstrated the folding screen products under test and development.
The industry expects that more than eight domestic folding screen flagship mobile phones will be launched this year. At least three of them are from Samsung, four from oppo, vivo and Xiaomi, and one from Google. 2021 is likely to be the most intensive year for the launch of folding screen mobile phones.
At the same time, the day before yesterday, Guo Mingli Z, an analyst of Tianfeng international, released the latest report, predicting the three generation changes of the iPhone from 2021 to 2023. One of the main changes is that Apple will launch iPhone products in the form of folding screen. Although it has not officially purchased folding screen, it is still in the stage of prototype development. Apple is likely to release a folding screen iPhone with a screen size of about 7.5-8 inches in 2023, Guo said.
Combined with all the rumors and research reports in the current market, the top six mobile phone brands in the world, including apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, oppo, vivo and Huawei (including glory), will continue to make efforts in the folding screen product line in the next 2-4 years. Among them, Xiaomi and Apple will have a profound impact on the folding screen market.
At present, the three main problems of folding screen mobile phone products are screen crease, high price and ecological construction.
Samsung and Huawei have started to solve the crease problem. Samsung led UTG glass has entered the trial production stage of the third generation of “UTG plus coating”. It has smooth handle and high hardness, which can solve the screen crease and hinge stability problems of folding mobile phones. Huawei also uses the multi-dimensional phase control linkage mechanism on mate X2, which has just been launched, to form a water drop type screen space at the screen bending to eliminate the creases to the maximum extent.
The entry of Xiaomi may change the high price of folding screen mobile phones at this stage. As the mainstream smartphone manufacturer with the lowest hardware gross profit rate, Xiaomi has maintained strict control over hardware prices in the past decade, which enables Xiaomi to expand rapidly in the global smartphone market.
When Xiaomi announced that it was going to launch its first mass-produced folding screen mobile phone in 2021, there were constant calls for Xiaomi to bring the folding screen mobile phone into a reasonable price range. According to the current information, Xiaomi will come up with its first folding screen mobile phone product in the first half of this year, which belongs to the mix series and adopts a folding solution similar to mate XS. The screen supplier is from TCL’s Huaxing optoelectronics.
At present, the problem of folding screen ecology needs to be solved by Apple’s entry. At present, no matter Samsung or Huawei, after the folding screen is unfolded, the application ecological display processing on the larger screen is very poor. How to solve the application experience innovation brought by the large screen is the biggest problem faced by Android mobile phone manufacturers.
In contrast to apple, because the system is closed, apple firmly holds the right of IOS ecological construction in its own hands, and has more say in promoting the change of software ecology. Apple once forced app developers to follow up three times when iPhone 5 changed display ratio, 64bit application and dark mode. At present, no one in smartphone factory has the same control over ecology.
The spring of niche market is coming
Although at this stage, the folding screen smartphone is still a toy in the niche market, the attitude of mobile phone manufacturers towards the folding screen has completely changed. The first batch of manufacturers to test the folding screen mobile phone market are more showing their technical strength and brand power. After more than two years of development, with the gradual maturity of technology, folding screen makes mobile phone manufacturers see the blank space in the transition from smart phones to tablet computers.
As Jobs said when he released the iPad, apple saw a space for new device categories between smartphones and laptops. Today’s folding screen phones are also in such a space.
The arrival of “spring” is inseparable from the completion of the industrial chain. As the upstream industrial chain layout gradually matures, it gives more opportunities for smart phone brands to come to an end. Now domestic panel manufacturers have begun to take shape. Domestic mobile phone manufacturers may choose to cooperate with domestic flexible panel suppliers to further reduce the cost, so as to explore the price and open more market space.
The arrival of “spring” is inseparable from users’ acceptance of new product forms. Samsung and Huawei have tried folding screen products for two consecutive years, and a small number of users have begun to actively accept such products. Whether Samsung’s flip Z has become a new favorite of social media such as little red book, or Huawei’s two generations of folding screen has become the “strongest financial product”, it is the process from wait-and-see to accept this new form of product.
When talking about the current domestic folding screen mobile phone market, Wang Xi, research manager of IDC China, said that the domestic folding screen mobile phone market will have a capacity of about 440000 units in 2020, which is still a niche product objectively. In terms of this volume, it is not enough to become an important factor in the market growth. However, many manufacturers’ pre research and exploration of future technologies, including the promotion and accumulation of a number of mass-produced folding screen products on the industrial chain, will gradually pave the way for the future development and demand release of folding screen products.
Since Apple launched the first generation of iPhone in 2007, the form of smart phones has been as long as 13 years, and no fundamental changes have taken place. To some extent, the folding screen undertakes the important task of promoting the development of smart phones. With the gradual maturity of the entire industry chain, when the folding screen is no longer “high above”, perhaps the spring of folding screen is really coming.