Five major trends in smartphones in the second half of the year Large memory becoming more common, 1TB at a low price

In the second half of the year, five major trends in smartphones include the increasing prevalence of large memory and the availability of 1TB at a low price

【phoneauto】The latest data shows that despite the continued popularity of the 618 shopping festival this year, there is no clear sign of recovery in the smartphone market. Will this trend change with the influx of a large number of new devices in the second half of the year?

In the first half of the year, the mid-to-low-end smartphone market started a frenzy of internal competition, with increasing emphasis on specifications and prices. On the other hand, high-end smartphones are focusing on imaging systems, trying to differentiate themselves through hardware, algorithms, and chips. In terms of segmentation, with the continuous heating up of the mid-range market, especially the intensified competition among smartphones priced around 3000 yuan, special features that were originally only available in high-end flagship devices will be “downgraded” in the second half of the year. For example, the Huawei nova 11 series will inherit the Kunlun glass and BeiDou satellite features that were previously only found in 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 ignored. The Huawei Mate X3 and Honor Magic V2, two foldable screen devices, serve as examples. In the second half of the year, the foldable screen market will undoubtedly move towards being “thin and powerful”.

At the same time, under the leadership of brands like Huawei and Meizu, the integration of “car” and “phone” has become a new choice for major manufacturers to expand their system boundaries. The experience of automotive intelligence is undoubtedly undergoing a new change under the influence of smartphone manufacturers.

All signs indicate that smartphone manufacturers will go further along this path of “internal competition” in the second half of the year. 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 “Five Major Trends in Smartphones in the Second Half of the Year”. This article focuses on the “accelerated popularization of smartphones with large memory in the second half of the year”.

In the first half of 2023, we witnessed the emergence of many smartphones with large memory. However, whether this phenomenon of popularizing smartphones with large memory will continue or be short-lived, many consumers have doubts. Currently, Phoneauto believes that the popularity of smartphones with large memory will continue in the second half of this year, based on the current development status of the smartphone industry and the upstream storage chip industry. Moreover, it is possible that a 1TB smartphone at a “bargain price” may soon appear.

We all know that the smartphone industry is a very competitive industry, and the relationship between manufacturers can be described as love-hate. From executives attacking each other to products competing fiercely, they are constantly trying to outdo each other. Of course, it is precisely because of this situation that the Chinese smartphone industry has become so strong today. However, by the first half of 2023, I don’t know if anyone has noticed that Android smartphones have reached a point where there is nothing left to compete for.

In terms of performance, although it may sound harsh, the performance improvement of Android smartphone manufacturers is mainly dependent on Qualcomm, followed by MediaTek. Furthermore, at present, there is a constant stream of discussions about the excess performance of Android smartphones. In terms of screens, some manufacturers have pushed the price range of 2K Samsung OLED screens to the 2K+ range, and 1.5K screens have also become widely popular. If flagship smartphones start using 4K screens, the battery will probably be the first to protest. In terms of imaging, several companies like Xiaomi and OPPO have started using one-inch sensor main cameras, and the next stage of M43 sensors is not something that can be easily overcome. It is unlikely that battery technology breakthroughs will be achieved by smartphone manufacturers alone. 240W charging has already entered mass production, which is currently the limit for USB-C. Looking at all of this, manufacturers have set their sights on memory and storage.

2023 can be called the first year of popularization of 1TB smartphones. Previously, a few manufacturers such as Samsung have also released smartphones with 1TB storage, but the prices were indeed a bit “expensive” and far from being popular. However, in 2023, multiple 1TB smartphones such as Redmi Note12 Turbo, realme GT Neo5 SE, and nubia Z50S Pro have been successively introduced, with many products priced around 2500 yuan at the time of release. At the same time, Redmi and realme have also launched 1TB versions for some old models such as Redmi K60 and realme GT Neo5, which has made many consumers exclaim in excitement. Other manufacturers like OnePlus have also started popularizing large memory, with a price of less than 3500 yuan for the 18GB Ace 2, can you believe it?

The popularization of large memory smartphones is undoubtedly due to the intense competition among smartphone manufacturers. However, on the other hand, the avalanche-like drop in storage chip prices that began in the second half of 2022 undoubtedly played a catalytic role. The rapid decline in upstream raw material costs has greatly reduced the obstacles for manufacturers to popularize large memory and storage smartphones.

Currently, it is difficult for us to understand the prices of storage chips purchased by smartphone manufacturers in the ordinary consumer market. However, we can have a glimpse of the decline in storage chip prices in 2023 through the prices of solid-state drives and memory modules on the neighboring PC side. Taking Samsung’s flagship SSD 990 Pro as an example, we can see through price checking apps that in November 2022, the price of a 1TB Samsung 990 Pro was still around 1100 yuan, but by June 18, 2023, it had already dropped to 550 yuan, cutting in half directly. Apart from Samsung, the prices of solid-state drives from manufacturers like Hynix, Toshiba/Kioxia, and Micron have also dropped by a similar extent. As for PC memory, the decline in prices in the retail market is even more significant compared to solid-state drives.

Of course, there are currently reports that Samsung, Hynix, Micron, and other manufacturers are planning to raise the wholesale prices of storage chips and memory chips, with an increase of about 7% to 8%. As for domestic manufacturer Changjiang Storage, because it is one of the most aggressive manufacturers in price wars, it seems that the price increase may come earlier than those international giants. However, these manufacturers will definitely start with the server market first before turning to the general consumer market. Moreover, it takes time for the price increase to be transmitted from the supply side to the consumer side. In summary, although there are signs of price increase, in the second half of 2023, smartphone manufacturers will still be able to enjoy price advantages if they want to popularize smartphones with large memory and storage.

As we mentioned before, in the first half of this year, manufacturers such as Redmi and realme have already launched a large number of affordable 1TB storage smartphones. Among them, the prices of many phones even showed a trend of decline after a period of time on the market. I have noticed that according to some netizens’ revelations, the 1TB version of the Redmi Note12 Turbo was available for around 1,900 yuan not long ago. Of course, this price may be due to temporary promotions, but even so, the regular price of this phone is currently stable at around 2,300 yuan, occasionally dropping to around 2,200 yuan, which is a significant decrease compared to the launch price.

So, what will be the price range of 1TB smartphones in the second half of 2023? First of all, we can already purchase a 1TB Changjiang TLC storage chip PCIe 3.0 solid-state drive from the market for around 200 yuan. This means that the cost difference between a 128GB base version and a 1TB high-end version of a phone may be less than 200 yuan. Although the storage chips used in phones and the solid-state drives used in PCs are different and cannot be generalized, their technologies are the same and can be used as a reference. Moreover, it is worth noting that smartphone manufacturers are not ordinary consumers with limited budgets, they purchase storage chips in large quantities, so the manufacturers’ purchasing prices are undoubtedly more favorable.

Considering that the 1TB version of Redmi Note12 Turbo has already appeared at a price of less than 2000 yuan, we may expect this kind of price normalization in the second half of 2023. Moreover, the configuration of Redmi Note12 Turbo itself is not ordinary, with high-performance mobile platform, high-quality OLED screen, high-pixel main camera, large battery, and high-power fast charging. Many of these configurations are flagship-level, and it has also eliminated the plastic frame, so the cost of this phone is relatively high apart from the storage chip. If a phone with more ordinary configuration also releases a 1TB storage version, then its price is expected to be lower than Redmi Note12 Turbo. As for how much lower this “lower” is, we will witness it with our own eyes during this year’s Double 11 promotion.

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