Five major trends in smartphones in the second half of the year Flagship features crazily delegated, mid-range phones become popular

In the second half of the year, flagship features are delegated, and mid-range phones become popular

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

In the first half of the year, the mid-to-low-end smartphone market began to fiercely compete in terms of specifications and prices, while high-end smartphones have focused on improving their imaging systems, trying to differentiate themselves through hardware, algorithms, chips, and other aspects. Specifically, as the mid-range market continues to heat up, especially the competition among smartphones priced around 3000 yuan, the special configurations that were previously only available in high-end flagships will be “downgraded” in the second half of the year. For example, the Huawei nova 11 series will continue the Kunlun glass and Beidou satellite features found in 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. Huawei Mate X3 and Honor Magic V2, two foldable screen models, will set an example, and the foldable screen market will undoubtedly move towards being “thin and powerful” in the second half of the year.

At the same time, led by brands like Huawei and Meizu, the integration of “cars” and “phones” has become a new option for major manufacturers to expand their system boundaries. Under the influence of smartphone manufacturers, the experience of intelligentized cars will undoubtedly undergo new changes.

All signs indicate that smartphone manufacturers in the second half of the year will continue to follow the path of “competing in terms of specifications”. In response to the development trends of smartphone manufacturers in the second half of the year, phoneauto has launched a series of special topics called “Five Major Trends in Smartphones in the Second Half of the Year”. This article specifically focuses on the trend of “crazy downgrading of flagship features in the second half of the year”.

To be honest, the internal competition in the mobile phone industry seems to have intensified in the second half of this year. In addition to focusing on flagship products, nowadays, mobile phone manufacturers are also willing to downgrade flagship-level hardware configurations to enhance the competitiveness of mid-range phones. From the recently launched mid-range products, it is evident that the competition intensity in the mid-range segment has increased.

Take the recently released OPPO K11 as an example. Although it is not a mid-to-high-end series like Find and Reno, it still boasts a flagship-level configuration. The device uses the same high-end imaging flagship OPPO Find X6’s 50-megapixel main camera IMX890, which also supports OIS optical image stabilization.

We can see the IMX890 sensor being used mostly in flagship devices, and not many in the mid-range segment. It’s worth noting that the OPPO K11 is priced at less than 2,000 yuan, while the Find X6 Pro starts at 4,999 yuan. Currently, among the 2K price range market, OPPO K11 is probably the only model equipped with a 50-megapixel main camera IMX890. Normally, the IMX890 sensor would first be popularized in quasi-flagship devices before reaching mid-range phones in 1 or 2 years.

In addition, the OPPO K11 not only uses a flagship-level imaging sensor Sony IMX890+OIS optical image stabilization for its rear main camera, but also features the flagship-level “memory gene recombination” and “refreshed storage technology”. The former significantly reduces lag during phone usage and improves memory recycling efficiency, reducing lag in heavy-load scenarios by 50%. The latter has been tested to reduce the aging rate by 11.5% over 48 months and increase average application startup speed by 26%.

Industry insiders generally believe that although different manufacturers have different integration capabilities of software and hardware, as well as development capabilities based on chip underlying technology, the collaborative innovation achievements of smartphone imaging systems have given manufacturers enough confidence, and imaging capabilities have also become the main means for manufacturers to compete in the market and attract users. The competition of smartphone imaging has become a manifestation of the comprehensive strength and research and development depth among manufacturers.

Therefore, from the launch of OPPO K11, we can see that the competition of flagship functions being transferred to mid-range phones has entered a white-hot stage, competing for who can offer more features.

In addition to the aforementioned OPPO K11, the Huawei nova 11 series has also introduced a wave of flagship features being transferred. This series is equipped with the same Kunlun glass as the Huawei flagship Mate 50. It is worth noting that this Kunlun glass adopts advanced material technology, not only has high strength and wear resistance, but also can effectively resist external impacts, and can maintain clear visibility under strong light. The glass has also obtained the Swiss SGS five-star glass drop resistance certification. Although it costs an additional 200 yuan for optional configuration, compared to the cost of repairing the phone after it is broken, the 200 yuan price increase for Kunlun glass is still worthwhile.

In addition, the dual-mode Beidou satellite messaging feature has also been transferred to the Huawei nova 11 series. It is reported that users can send out text and location information to the outside world through Huawei’s smooth connection app, maintain contact with the outside world, obtain search and rescue information, and support the generation of multiple location trajectory maps. It is a very practical technology.

The most powerful point of the dual-mode Beidou satellite messaging feature is that it is not limited by ground network signals. In unmanned areas where many network signals do not cover or in places where network signals suddenly interrupt, it can play a significant role.

In addition, there is also the standard version of Honor 90, which uses the Samsung HP3 main camera sensor. As a high-end image sensor launched by Samsung in 2022, it is generally used in flagship/semi-flagship models. HP3 has a super-high pixel count of 200 million and a large 1/1.4-inch sensor, supporting Super QPD autofocus technology, and all pixels of the sensor are equipped with autofocus function. Super QPD autofocus technology can detect phase differences in the horizontal and vertical directions on four adjacent pixels using a single lens, allowing the phone to autofocus more accurately.

It is worth mentioning that some digital bloggers have revealed that the Snapdragon 8 Gen2 will also be available in the 2K price range, not the kind that is less than 2999 yuan, possibly just slightly above 2K. I can only say that mid-range phones only have spring.

Of course, the downgrading of certain flagship configuration technologies will not put pressure on the high-end smartphone market. Mid-range phones cannot replace high-end phones, and the improvement in experience of high-end products involves various aspects. For mid-range products, based on cost considerations, “downgrading” a certain technology or configuration will inevitably result in reduced specifications in other aspects, and the overall experience will not be as good as high-end phones. However, it is still a good thing for consumers, as they can experience flagship functions that are only equipped on high-end phones at a lower price.

In the past few years, mid-range models have performed very well in the market. These models have achieved a good balance in terms of performance, features, and price, making them the preferred products for consumers. Taking OPPO as an example, according to Counterpoint data, in the first quarter of 2023, OPPO performed well among domestic smartphone manufacturers, taking the first place in market share with a 18.3% share. This is closely related to OnePlus’ outstanding performance this year, especially in the mid-range smartphone market. OnePlus Ace 2 and OnePlus Ace 2V are very popular among consumers and have achieved an impressive sales growth of 227% in the first quarter.

Why have mid-range smartphones become so popular in the market? Mainly because they are more affordable, while still providing sufficient functionality and performance to meet the daily needs of most consumers. The selection of mid-range models is also more diverse, as different brands and models can meet different consumer demands. Furthermore, with the continuous advancement of technology, many high-end features have become increasingly mature and the cost has been continuously reduced. This makes it possible to incorporate these features into mid-range smartphones.

In addition, in the increasingly competitive smartphone market, major brands need to constantly introduce new technologies and features to maintain their market competitiveness. Incorporating flagship features into mid-range smartphones is an effective strategy for differentiation.

The configuration that originally belonged to high-end flagship products is now being “downgraded”. This is both a result of the gradual maturity of various technologies and a response to the increased competition pressure in the downward market cycle. Overall, in the second half of this year, more flagship configurations will be downgraded to mid-range and even budget smartphones, which undoubtedly benefits the general consumers.

We will continue to update Phone&Auto; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!


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