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What Have Smartphones Changed In The Past 10 Years?
Source:Оriginal | Author:Calio Huang of C&T RF Antennas Inc | Publish time: 2019-12-26 | 1578 Views | Share:


For most people, smartphones are probably the digital consumer goods that have had the most impact on them in the past 10 years, and 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 iPhone just reached the fourth generation, and BlackBerry, Palm, and Microsoft also had their own mobile operating systems. Hundreds of flowers arguing with each other, it is wonderful.

Now, whenever you walk into a mobile phone store, it is difficult to see overseas mobile phone brands other than Apple and Samsung. Crossing the counter, the signs of Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo will constantly enter the field of vision. Shopping guides tossed and tried to drink, but nothing more than these names.

The new brand replaced the old-generation classic, and the mobile phone products themselves also changed in aesthetics and design methods. Most of them were brought about by technological breakthroughs and technological innovations, and some were fresh ideas explored at the software level.

But in the 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, the parameters are essentially hidden inside the fuselage. What really captures the first attention of consumers is still the appearance.

In order to give higher prices, mobile phone manufacturers will also consciously use different materials and screen sizes to make their own products look closer to flagship devices. Some features that are difficult to highlight "high-end" and "quality" are gradually being abandoned in the process.

This includes the plastic materials we are familiar with, as well as small screens.

At one time, plastic was the most widely used chemical product in the mobile phone industry. After all, its cost was cheap enough, easy to mold, and it would not block antenna signals.

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 has a ceramic-like moist feel.

But unfortunately, these new attempts have not given polycarbonate the same status as double-sided glass and aluminum alloy materials. In the inherent perception of most consumers, "metals and glass for high-end mobile phones and plastics for low-end mobile phones Has become a key factor in measuring the value of a product.

A similar situation occurs in the understanding of the screen size of mobile phones. Today, you can hardly find a flagship configuration with mainstream manufacturers, but the screen size is about 5 inches, even the Redmi 8A, which costs 699 yuan, also uses a 6.2-inch screen.

In other words, the largest component on a mobile phone can no longer be used to distinguish between high-end and low-end products. It has already become a technology that even a thousand yuan machine can afford.

Manufacturers have their own reasons for choosing a large screen. After all, the larger screen also brings more internal space, and these extra parts will basically be occupied by new components such as vibration motors, multiple cameras or wireless charging rings. Only by bringing these richer and better experiences can consumers open their wallets willingly.

But are "outdated technologies" such as plastics and small screens worthless? They don't seem to be so absolute. After the rise of all-metal mobile phones, glass also fell 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 front desk again, bringing a more mature process.

Similarly, if the screen folding technology is mature, we can change the size of the mobile phone as we want, and naturally, there will no longer be a "big screen" and "small screen" dispute.

It is said that fashion is a classic reincarnation, and mobile phone design is not so.

Mobile phones are increasingly pursuing integration, but they also erase a lot of humanity

Smartphones are an industry that likes subtraction in appearance. From the product level, large screens allow mobile phones to gain more internal space, but manufacturers will still change the proportion of each component and squeeze out more. Available space.

Looking back on the evolution of mobile phones in the past 10 years, you can also find that on the one hand, we have obtained a body with fewer gaps and stronger integration, as well as various wireless transmission technologies; but on the other hand, we can arbitrarily disassemble it The cell phone battery will press the physical button twice when it is okay, and the 3.5mm headphone jack that accompanies us countless days and nights, and one by one disappear into our sight.

Were they eliminated because no one wanted to use them? Obviously not.

For users, this age-old technology can still solve many pain points. For example, the detachable battery can alleviate “lifetime anxiety”, instead of letting us connect a charging treasure like a hanging bottle; for example, the physical buttons, the ease of use and the low learning threshold are not comparable to gesture interaction of.

However, users don't seem to have much choice in deciding whether technology is a life or death. Even if some people don't really like the changes, manufacturers will still give various reasons to try to persuade consumers to forget the old solution.

Fortunately, certain changes do allow us to see a better side. Although the battery cannot be removed, 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 reliable structure.

In addition, the advent of fast charging technology has greatly improved the efficiency of our mobile phone charging, and it can be regarded as a "time for space" solution.

For physical buttons, its disappearance has replaced a screen with a larger field of view. Smartphones are still devices built around the screen, and since we can get used to typing with a full-touch keyboard, it doesn't seem particularly difficult to cut off a Home key.

On the contrary, these are the volume key and the lock screen key. It is difficult to see the possibility of being replaced in a short time. Although on many waterfall screens mobile phones such as Vivo NEX3 and Huawei Mate30 Pro, we have already seen the design of replacing the volume keys with touch feedback, which means that there is no technical limit to cut off all mobile phone keys.

But the root of the problem is not the mapping of the representational functions, but how to restore the perceptual feedback completely consistent with the physical keys, or how to simulate "real".

iOS and Android dominate the software industry, they are no longer just phone systems

10 years ago, we not only saw many differences in the form of mobile phones. Even at the system level, users have more than iOS and Android to choose from.

They all have their own strengths. For example, webOS uses a minimalist card-like UI as its core, while BlackBerry's BBOS and Microsoft's Windows Mobile focus on the business crowd, and the fleeting Nokia MeeGo is leading the way in pure gesture-free sliding interaction.

But we haven't 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, with the exception of Apple itself, most manufacturers chose to enter the Android camp. They defeated the old generation of mobile phone brands and continued to compete with their surviving peers.

However, until now, there are probably more similarities between these two systems than there are differences.

Leaving aside the interface design, the system-level functions and interface styles of both are gradually converging, such as dark mode, various frosted glass effects, large white blocks, and rounded cards, and even the logic of gesture interaction is already there. It becomes standard on most smartphones.

Rising to a larger level, such as the integration of mobile and desktop application ecosystems, developing emerging areas such as AI and AR, and grabbing business with film and television, music content platforms, etc., Apple and Google are in the same direction.

At this moment, both iOS and Android systems have long been separated from the hardware. Instead of users 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 bound to the two systems. It can be your wristwatch, wireless earphones on your ears, or even home audio and TV.

If you want to share this kind of ecological pattern, you can't achieve it by rebuilding a beautiful and easy-to-use system.

What else can we expect in the next decade?

It may be difficult for us to see consumer electronics devices like smartphones that can have a significant impact on everyone's life.

It has been the fastest-growing 10 years. This communication tool, which was only used to call and send text messages, can now use personal PCs and other categories far away with its annual shipments of nearly 1.4 billion units. The electronics were left behind.

But as you have seen before, after a period of rapid development, the industry has reached a certain consensus on the understanding of hardware morphology and software development. The next step is to just iterate step by step. It's hard to see the rapid changes of 10 years ago.

The head manufacturers that have occupied most of the market share are no longer satisfied with the business of only mobile phones but are trying to expand the business to multiple fields such as headphones and watches.

This is to build 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 when more and more devices can be connected to us. 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 go out without a mobile phone, we can rely on the voice assistant on the headset and watch to meet most of our needs.

Of course, it will take some time for such changes to come. We can still retain our imagination for smartphones and wait for the next 10 years.