On February 12th Samsung unveiled its latest foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip. Unlike last year’s Galaxy Fold, Flip is smaller and more convenient, with vertical folds, a full screen of 6.7 inches, AOff left and right, and a full screen of 7.3 inches. It’s the first time Samsung has released a folded-up-down phone, but it’s not alone, and last year Motorola unveiled a similar-mechanical, razr, which sold for $1,500.
Flip, on the other hand, has made a price leap, reaching $1,380 (about 9,600 yuan), which is lower than the high-priced version of its new flagship Galaxy S20 series. Compared with The Fold (RMB 15999) and Huawei Mate X (RMB 16999), this is a direct drop of more than 40%.
Samsung has further controlled the cost of the industry chain, and Flip has become the cheapest foldable phone available today. At the same time, the noise of external doubts comes with, such as small battery capacity, pseudo-demand, ineffective innovation and so on.
Indeed, collapsible equipment is not yet mature from the product to the industrial chain. But innovation comes from iterations, and tech giants need to take the ecological place in new technologies.
Folding up and down with glass cover
First of all, to analyze Flip’s most-watched point, one is vertical folding up and down.
Here’s the trade-off between portability and operability, and the Flip screen isn’t much larger than a normal smartphone, but it can be smaller and more portable, making it a pocket device. And there is a view that the mobile phone has moved from the pocket device to the handheld, wearable device stage, now people put the phone in the pocket time is very short, and therefore, the smartphone often slightly sacrifice convenience to meet the greater ability to interact. Of course, perhaps Samsung and Motorola’s judgment is that the phone will be a pocket device and is willing to invest more.
It should be pointed out that the folding of the phone and the previous flip phone is essentially different, flip phone just for portability to make compromises, open and fold after the screen size is the same, but the interactive device keyboard, display, interaction efficiency has not improved. But now, for example, Flip, on the basis of portability, is at least twice as efficient as the display, with a 6.7-inch interactive screen and a folded carry-on screen that is half the size.
Another point of view is the first commercial glass cover. It is well known that on top of the OLED screen, a protective screen is also required to support the folding cover, which is critical to folding performance. Previously, the foldable phones used CPI (transparent polyamide, a plastic), and Samsung used the glass material and CPI for commercial use for the first time.
“Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy Z Flip’s foldable ultra-thin glass (UTG: Ultra-Thin-Glass) is significantly better than CPI in terms of hardness and durability,” Chen Jun, deputy general manager of Group Intelligence Consulting, told 21st Century Economic S. Compared with CPI protection cover, ultra-thin glass although the hardness is relatively high, but fragile, especially when the bending rate is very small, it is very obvious. To this end, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip uses a combination of CPI and UTG, i.e. a protective film covered with ultra-thin glass, which increases the surface hardness of the cover plate while reducing the brittleness of UTG and greatly improved reliability. “
And Donglihua General Manager Hu Wei also pointed out that although CPI has bend-resistant bending, high transparency, not fragile and so on, but the hardness, impact resistance, optical effect is not as good as collapsible glass. For example, CPI anti-scratch ability is poor, easy to scratch, CPI impact protection ability is poor, when hit by external forces, the INSIDE of the CPI OLED display is easy to be destroyed. The flexible ultra-thin reinforced glass has enough hardness to effectively protect the inner OLED even if the flexible glass breaks when it is affected by external forces.
In Hu Wei’s view, with the formation of folding screen trend, foldable ultra-thin reinforced glass will eventually replace CPI. Glass panel manufacturers have also been investing in research and development to commercialize technologies such as Corning, Asahi Glass, Neito (NEG), Schott, ECONY, Dong Lihua, DoInsys, etc.
Although from a mechanical point of view, folding up and down is not revolutionary innovation, but the overall from the point of view of interaction, materials, etc. , is groundbreaking, including glass cover technology, hinge technology, support for any angle folding and so on. The new compact pocket design, there are also cost considerations, in the supply chain costs fall, to promote the popularity of folding screens, and then on this basis there is more room for extension.
Foldable wind, who will lead the voyage?
Although public opinion, there is negative noise about the new folding phone, but it has to be said that Samsung is indeed leading the folding screen trend, and the core industry chain constantly debugging, such as the core screen. The significance of Flip’s phone may not be about sales, but that Samsung continues to gain a foothold in the folding-screen technology industry chain.
Some people say that collapsible mobile phones are pseudo-demand, pseudo-innovation, an industry insider told the 21st century economic reporter: “A good product is of course very important, or even open a new era.” But there are constantimmature products, will be born excellent products. The point is that we are constantly innovating to select shortlisted products among the many innovations, which is the result of extensive screening and an iterative evolution process. We have to do a lot of attempts, to do horizontal folding screen, vertical folding screen, to do large screen, do small screen, do after the market is possible, and the market and supply chain complement each other. “
And dare to try, dare to integrate the supply chain, dare to control costs is very important, because this is not an easy decision, not solve a screen on the end, for Samsung, especially Motorola, may be desperate to try, perhaps the product may not be able to succeed in the end, but their impact on the industrial chain is very far-reaching. And now Samsung is ready to ship and supply millions of scales.
In other words, Samsung is considering the industrial chain, it wants to set off a folding wave, even if the future does not sell folding mobile phones, can continue to sell folding screens.
In 2020, the giants’ collapsible phones will be available.
In October 2018, Joo Yu released the world’s first folding-screen mobile phone, 2019 is the first year of the development of folding-screen mobile phones, Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo’s folding phones are also officially launched. Chen Jun said that in the future, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, Lenovo and other end brands among the layout of folding products, 2020-2022 will have more folding products released.
According to Group Intelligence Consulting’s “Foldable Smart Terminal Series Research Report” data, the world’s sales of collapsible smart phones in 2019 about 700,000 units, of which Samsung shipped about 450,000 units, the world is expected to sell about 4 million units of collapsible smart terminals in 2020, an increase of about 519 percent year-on-year.