For most people, smartphones may be the digital consumer products that have caused the greatest impact over the past 10 years. The entire mobile phone industry has also experienced ups and downs.
At that time, Nokia was still the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer. Apple's iPhone had just become the fourth generation, and BlackBerry, Palm and Microsoft all have their own mobile phone operating systems. Hundreds of flowers bloom together, it is very exciting.
And now, whenever you enter a mobile phone store, it is difficult to see overseas mobile phone brands other than Apple and Samsung. Crossing between the counters, the signatures of Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo will continue to rush into the field of vision. The shopping guides repeatedly tossed hard, and nothing more than these names.
New brands have replaced the old generation of classics, and mobile phone products themselves have undergone changes in aesthetics and design methods. Most of them are brought about by technological breakthroughs and process innovations, and some are fresh ideas groped by the software. But in this process, we also had to wave goodbye to other designs.
Plastic materials and small screens have become victims of high-end
The reason for buying a mobile phone is far less complicated than we think. Whether it is performance, photography or storage specifications, they are essentially parameters hidden inside the fuselage, which can really catch the consumer's first attention, still the appearance.
In order to give a higher price, mobile phone manufacturers will also consciously use different materials and screen sizes to make their products look closer to flagship devices. Some features that are difficult to highlight "high-end" and "quality" are gradually abandoned in this process. This includes the plastic materials we are familiar with, as well as small screens.
Once, plastic was the most widely used chemical product in the mobile phone industry. After all, its cost is cheap enough, it is easy to form, and it will not block the antenna signal.
The maturity of the processing technology allowed plastics to get rid of the perception of "cheapness". For example, Apple ’s iPhone 5c, and Nokia ’s Lumia series, in their hands, the thermoplastic material represented by polycarbonate has become the best choice for embellishing colorful colors, and even made a warm feel like ceramic.
But unfortunately, these new attempts did not allow polycarbonate to obtain the same status as double-sided glass and aluminum alloy materials. In the inherent perception of most consumers, "metal and glass for high-end mobile phones, plastic for low-end mobile phones "It has become a key factor in measuring the value of products.
A similar situation also occurs in understanding the screen size of mobile phones. Today, it is difficult for you to find a mainstream device that has a flagship configuration, but the phone with a screen size of about 5 inches, even the Redmi 8A with a price of 699 yuan, also uses a 6.2-inch screen.
In other words, the largest component on a mobile phone today can no longer be used to differentiate high-end and low-end products. It has already become a technology that can be used even by a thousand-yuan machine.
Manufacturers have their own reasons for choosing large screens. After all, a larger screen also brings more internal space. These extra parts are basically occupied by new components such as vibration motors, multiple cameras or wireless charging rings. Only by bringing these richer and better experiences can consumers be willing to open their wallets.
But are "obsolete technologies" such as plastics and small screens useless? It seems not so absolute. I thought that after the rise of all-metal mobile phones, the glass had fallen out of favor for a while, but now in order to take care of wireless charging and signals, manufacturers have pushed the glass back to the foreground again, and brought a more mature process.
In the same way, if the screen folding technology is mature, we can change the size of the mobile phone as we like, and naturally there will no longer be a fight between "big screen" and "small screen."
It is said that fashion is a classic reincarnation, so why not design for mobile phones. Mobile phones are increasingly pursuing integration, but they also erase a lot of humanized things
Smartphones are an industry that likes to subtract in appearance. From a product level, large screens allow mobile phones to gain more internal space, but manufacturers will still change the proportion of each component and further extract more Available space.
Looking back at the evolution of mobile phones in the past 10 years, you can also find that on the one hand we have obtained a fuselage with fewer gaps and more integration, and various wireless transmission technologies; The mobile phone battery, you will press the physical button twice, and the 3.5mm headphone jack that has accompanied us countless days and nights has also disappeared in our sight.
Are they eliminated because no one wants to use them? Obviously not.
For users, this kind of age-laden technology can still solve many pain points. For example, the detachable battery can alleviate "endurance anxiety", instead of letting us connect a charging treasure like a hanging bottle; another example is the physical button, which has its own ease of use and low learning threshold, which is also unmatched by gesture interaction. of.
However, users do not seem to have much choice in deciding whether a technology is life or death. Even if some people do not like these changes, manufacturers will still give various reasons to try to persuade consumers to forget the old plan.
Fortunately, certain changes did allow us to see a better side. Although the battery cannot be removed, but thanks to the integrated design, mobile phone manufacturers can save more space to increase battery capacity and extend battery life, while also ensuring product safety and structural reliability.
With the advent of fast charging technology, we have greatly improved the efficiency of charging our mobile phones, which is also a kind of "time for space" solution.
For the physical button, its disappearance, in exchange for a larger screen. Smartphones are still devices that are built around the screen, and since we can get used to typing with a full-touch keyboard, it seems that it is not particularly difficult to cut off a Home button.
On the contrary, it is the volume key and the lock screen key. It is difficult to see the possibility of being replaced in a short time. Although on a variety of waterfall screen mobile phone products such as vivo NEX3 and Huawei Mate30 Pro, we have seen the design of replacing the volume keys with touch feedback, which means that there are no technical restrictions for cutting off all mobile phone buttons.
But the root of the problem is not the mapping of the appearance function, but how to restore the perceptual feedback that is exactly the same as the physical button, or how to simulate "real".
iOS and Android dominate the software industry, they are no longer just mobile phone systems
Ten years ago, we could not only see many differences in the form of mobile phones, even at the system level, there were more than iOS and Andorid for users to choose from.
They all have their own specialties. For example, webOS uses a minimalist card-style UI as its core, while BlackBerry's BBOS and Microsoft's Windows Mobile mainly focus on the business crowd, as well as the short-lived Nokia MeeGo, which is ahead of the pure gesture-free sliding interaction with buttons.
But we have not seen these alternative systems, even if many touch interactions are not the first of iOS or Android, but with a more mature application store system, they not only control the entire mobile software ecosystem, but also reconstruct our use of mobile phones The way.
In the end, apart from Apple itself, most manufacturers chose to enter the Android camp, they broke down the old generation of mobile phone brands, and continue to compete with their surviving counterparts. However, to the present, the two systems are now similar in much more than they are different.
Regardless of the interface design, the system-level functions and interface styles of the two are gradually converging, such as the dark mode, various frosted glass effects, large white blocks and rounded corner cards, and even the logic of gesture interaction. Becomes the standard of most smartphones.
Ascending to a greater level, such as the integration of mobile and desktop application ecosystems, emerging areas such as AI and AR, and film and music, music content platforms to grab business, etc., Apple and Google are also in the same direction.
At this moment, whether it is iOS or Android system, it has already existed without hardware. Instead of choosing a mobile phone, it is better to embrace a whole set of services based on this platform.
In the foreseeable future, there will be more hardware and services that will be tied to the two systems. It can be your wrist watch, it can also be a wireless headset on your ear, or even a home audio and TV .
If you want to shake up this ecological pattern, you can't achieve it by recreating a good-looking and easy-to-use system. What can we expect in the next decade?
It may be difficult for us to see consumer electronics devices like smartphones that can have an important impact on everyone's life.
It has spent the fastest 10 years of development. This communication tool, which was once used to make phone calls and send text messages, can now use personal shipments of nearly 1.4 billion units per year to far Electronic equipment was left behind.
But as you have seen in the previous article, after a period of rapid development, the industry has reached a certain consensus on the understanding of hardware morphology and software development, and then only need to iterate forward step by step, we have been very It is difficult to see the rapid changes that occurred 10 years ago.
Those head manufacturers that have occupied most of the market share are no longer satisfied with the business of only mobile phones, but try to expand the business to multiple fields such as headphones and watches.
This is to establish a more stable ecosystem in the upcoming 5G era.
Some people believe that the importance of smartphones will be reduced in the 5G era, especially as more and more devices around us can be connected, coupled with the drive of AI and cloud computing, any local product can break the physical boundaries and become a whole The control center of the ecosystem, provided that our environmental network is sufficient to carry such data transmission.
One day, even if we don't take a mobile phone to go out, we can rely on the voice assistant on the headset and watch to solve most of the needs. Of course, it will take some time for such changes to arrive, and we can still retain our imagination for smartphones and wait for the next 10 years.