Five major trends in smartphones in the second half of the year folding phones slim down and make a comeback, hard-hitting straight screen phones

In the second half of the year, five major smartphone trends emerge folding phones make a comeback and become slimmer, while straight screen phones become more popular

【Phoneauto】The latest data shows that although this year’s 618 (shopping festival) is still hot, there is no obvious sign of recovery in the smartphone market. Will this trend change with the influx of new phones in the second half of the year?

Five major trends for smartphones in the second half of the year: folding phones slimming down and straight panel phones making a comeback

In the first half of the year, the mid-to-low-end mobile phone market started to intensively compete on configurations and prices, while high-end phones focused on imaging systems, trying to gain a competitive edge through hardware, algorithms, chips, and other aspects. Looking into the details, as the mid-range market continues to heat up, especially with the intensified competition among phones priced around 3000 yuan, special configurations that were once exclusive to high-end flagships will be “downgraded” in the second half of the year. For example, the Huawei Nova 11 series will continue the Kunpeng glass and Beidou satellite features of the Huawei Mate and P series. Another example is the Redmi K series, which inherits Xiaomi’s imaging technology.

In addition, the high-end market represented by foldable phones should not be overlooked. With models such as the Huawei Mate X3 and Honor Magic V2 as benchmarks, the foldable screen market will undoubtedly move towards being “lightweight and powerful” in the second half of the year.

At the same time, under the leadership of brands like Huawei and Meizu, the integration of “car” and “mobile” has become a new choice for major manufacturers to expand the boundaries of their systems. The experience of automotive intelligence will undoubtedly see new changes under the influence of smartphone manufacturers.

All signs indicate that smartphone manufacturers in the second half of the year will go further down the path of “intensification”. In response to the development trends of smartphone manufacturers in the second half of the year, phoneauto has launched a series of special topics on the “five major trends for smartphones in the second half of the year.” This article focuses on the “slimming down of foldable screen phones.”

Honor Magic V2

Foldable smartphones are no longer something new.

Now, it has been several years since the first foldable smartphone was launched. During this period, as the technology of mobile phone manufacturers becomes more mature, foldable smartphones are no longer as unattainable as they were at the beginning. Not only has the quality control improved, but the prices have also become more affordable.

Under the competition among mobile phone manufacturers, foldable smartphones can now be as thin and light as conventional smartphones, or even thinner and lighter. Moreover, from the current trend, the lightweight design of foldable smartphones will become mainstream in the second half of the year.

In the past two years, due to various factors, the shipment volume of smartphones is not optimistic. However, when people least expected it, the sales of foldable smartphones have “surged”.

Data released by the well-known research firm Counterpoint Research shows that in the first quarter of this year, global smartphone sales declined by 14.2%, but the sales of foldable smartphones increased by 64%, reaching 2.5 million units.

In the first quarter of 2023, Huawei and OPPO both held a market share of 27%, ranking first in the foldable smartphone market. Samsung, Honor, and Vivo followed closely behind.

Market share of foldable smartphones in the first quarter of 2023

The report points out that the Chinese foldable smartphone market is particularly vibrant. In the first quarter of 2023, while the shipment volume of Chinese smartphones declined by 8%, the shipment volume of foldable smartphones increased by 117% year-on-year to 1.08 million units, almost half of the global foldable smartphone market. China is becoming the largest foldable smartphone market in the world.

Regarding this, research analyst Woojin Son commented, “In China, the release of new foldable screen phones like OPPO Find N2 and N2 Flip has attracted a lot of attention. Therefore, compared to other regions, Chinese consumers are more familiar with foldable screen phones.”

Senior analyst Jene Park stated: It is expected that the foldable screen phone market in China will continue to grow, mainly because Chinese consumers consider “foldable screen phones” as high-end smartphones.

Demand drives supply. Although there have been many foldable screen phones released in the first half of the year, there will be a wave of new foldable screen phones released in the second half of the year.

Setting aside the recently released Samsung Z Fold5 and Z Flip5, on July 27th, Xiaomi officially announced that the Xiaomi MIX Fold3 will be launched in August.

Xiaomi MIX Fold3 officially announced

According to official introductions, with the joint efforts of Xiaomi and Leica, Xiaomi has successfully implemented the latest solution of “Leica optical full-focus quad-camera” in the thin and tough body structure of Xiaomi MIX Fold3.

Xiaomi and Leica’s global imaging strategic cooperation has taken a groundbreaking step, achieving a qualitative leap in “miniaturization of mobile imaging.” In order to achieve this result, Xiaomi has made breakthroughs in key areas such as miniaturized OIS motors, ultra-thin high-transmittance lenses, miniaturized periscope telephoto modules, and stacked designs. It has successfully brought Leica’s optical full-focus quad-camera to the foldable screen field, and achieved flagship-level top-notch imaging experience on a thin body.

In addition to the Xiaomi MIX Fold3, OnePlus’ first foldable screen phone may also be unveiled in August.

OnePlus foldable screen phone

At the OnePlus 11 launch event in February, OnePlus officially confirmed the development of a foldable phone. Rumor has it that OnePlus is developing two models, including a horizontally folding screen phone and a small folding screen phone, possibly named “OnePlus Open”. There are rumors that the new phone may be officially unveiled on August 19th.

In addition, Honor will also release two foldable screen phones in the second half of the year, which are likely to be outward folding and small folding. According to leaks, “these two unknown foldable screens are also very impressive.”

OPPO Find N3 series, Samsung W25 series, and others are also expected to be released in the second half of the year. For reference, the OPPO Find N2 series was released on December 15, 2022, and the Samsung W23 dual flagship was released on October 21, 2022. In addition, leaks show that Meizu is also developing foldable phones.

After the release of this series of new phones, it is believed that foldable screen phone sales will be further boosted.

With so many foldable screen phones competing, various highlights emerge one after another, but they all have one common feature: thinness and lightness.

Huawei Mate X3

Foldable screen phones are moving towards thinness and lightness.

When foldable screen phones first appeared, the high prices deterred many people, and the heavy bodies made it difficult for many users to use foldable screen phones as their daily main phones. The portability of foldable screen phones is far inferior to that of flat screen phones, and these factors have suppressed the sales of foldable screen phones.

But with the release of Huawei Mate X3 this year, foldable screens are thinner and lighter than flat screens for the first time, attracting countless attention and changing the stereotype of foldable screen phones being “bulky and not easy to carry” in people’s minds. It turns out that foldable screen phones can be thinner and lighter than flat screen phones. Huawei Mate X3 has been very popular and hard to find since its release.

Huawei Mate X3

While people are still fascinated by the slimness of the Huawei Mate X3, the Honor Magic V2 series was released in July, which is even slimmer than the Huawei Mate X3. The thickness of the Honor Magic V2 series in the closed state is only 9.9mm, and it weighs only 231g, making it the thinnest horizontally folding flagship in the world, with a weight close to that of a flat flagship.

And that’s not all. After the official announcement of the Xiaomi MIX Fold3, digital bloggers revealed that the Xiaomi MIX Fold3 is also very slim. “Xiaomi MIX Fold3 has chosen the ‘slim and versatile’ route this year, and it may be the only slim and versatile folding screen without any shortcomings.” said the blogger.

Xiaomi MIX Fold3 leak

In addition, it is rumored that Honor will release another large folding screen phone in the second half of the year, which is somewhat similar to the Huawei Mate Xs 2 and adopts an outward folding scheme, making the body even slimmer.

It is not difficult to see that the “slimness” of folding screen phones will be a major trend in the second half of this year.

In order to make folding screen phones more accepted by consumers, smartphone manufacturers are making continuous efforts. The goal is to make the user experience of folding screen phones surpass that of flat-screen phones. Not only the price needs to be close to that of flat-screen phones, but also the user experience needs to be better and the portability needs to be closer to that of flat-screen phones. In fact, among these, achieving “resemblance” is easier than achieving “similarity”, and in the end, it’s about the price.

When the appearance of folding screen phones becomes similar to that of flat-screen phones, or even slimmer than flat-screen phones, people’s attention will shift elsewhere, and folding screen phones will continue to improve.

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