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Mobile phone manufacturers collective card position folding screen, but it is still far away from us

Mobile phone manufacturers collective card position folding screen, but it is still far away from us

Mobile phone manufacturers collective card position folding screen, but it is still far away from us

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At this year's IT Leaders Summit, Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's consumer business, "sold" Huawei's first foldable phone to Ma Huateng, and once again talked about the key issues that foldable phones have hit the market-5G applications, prices, and battery life.

Previously, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), a technology foresight in the field of mobile communications, "5G" and "folding screen" became the two key words of this year's exhibition. Among them, the folding screen attracted the most attention. Samsung and Huawei's folding screen mobile phones appeared successively, which caused heated discussions inside and outside the venue.

It is foreseeable that mobile phone manufacturers, which were still fighting against full screens last year, will usher in a "folding" card battle this year. At this point, the folding screen mobile phone that screamed for a few years from concept to reality.

Some domestic smart terminal industry believes that due to technology, production capacity and high cost, the application scenarios and market acceptance of folding screen mobile phones are still being explored. The short-term popularity is not optimistic. In the predictions of many agencies, the global shipments of folding screen mobile phones will be about one million units in 2019.

But this does not affect the major manufacturers to join this competition that is related to the future.

Major manufacturers join the "folding" track

In the early morning of February 21, Beijing time, Samsung released its first folding screen phone Galaxy Fold at the annual flagship conference in San Francisco. The phone uses an inward folding method and is equipped with a 7.3-inch foldable OLED display. The phone measures 4.6 inches.

Four days later, Huawei's first commercial 5G folding screen phone, Mate X, was unveiled at MWC 2019. At the same time, Huawei's planned timetable for folding smartphones was listed at the end of June.

Yu Chengdong said that unlike the Galaxy Fold's internal folding method, Huawei Mate X uses an inversion design. When unfolded, it is an 8-inch tablet with a thickness of 5.4 mm. When closed, it becomes a 6.6-inch dual-screen mobile phone.

Although at Samsung MWC 2019, Samsung and Huawei's folding screen phones are still placed in glass covers, which can only be viewed from a distance, but the discussion on folding screen phones outside the venue has been extremely fierce.

Earlier, a "mutual marketing" between Xiaomi and Rouyu Technology has pushed the folding screen mobile phone to the cusp.

On January 23, Xiaomi co-founder and president Lin Bin posted a demo video of Xiaomi's dual-folding engineering prototype on Weibo. He announced that after overcoming a number of technical problems such as flexible folding screen technology and four-wheel drive folding hinges, Xiaomi made the world's first dual-folding mobile phone.

在雷军对友商喊出“生死看淡、不服就干”后,柔宇科技随即回应。柔宇科技副总裁樊俊超在微信朋友圈指称,小米发布的是难以量产的概念柔性屏,却宣称攻克了柔性显示技术。他还严辞激烈地表示,“除了三星和LG,(其他厂商)都是买还无法量产上市的概念性柔性屏,整机距离上市销售差距甚远。”

早在2018年10月31日,柔宇科技抢先推出了“柔派手机(FlexPai)”,核心卖点是“全球首款可折叠柔性屏手机”。

小米遭遇呛声后,其公关部对外发声回击柔宇,对研发技术进行解释。小米产品管理总监宋嘉宁表示,小米正在尝试各种不同的可折叠概念,折叠屏手机会等技术成熟后再发布。

在MWC 2019会上,联想集团董事长兼CEO杨元庆质疑说,所谓折叠屏手机是锁在玻璃柜中的“PPT产品”。“三年前联想在Tech World就展示了折叠屏概念机,今年各家厂商发布的折叠屏产品并没有超出当时的技术范畴。”

联想研发了三年,却迟迟没有推出折叠屏手机。对此,联想集团副总裁、中国区首席市场官王传东近日表示,联想一直看重折叠屏手机研发方向,但是因为工艺技术问题,折叠屏手机短时间内很难形成大规模的量产。

OPPO副总裁、中国大陆事业部总裁沈义人曾在采访中直言,目前折叠手机是“为了折叠而折叠”“并没有达到一个成熟商业化产品的价值”。但是,随着关于“折叠”的讨论愈加热烈,沈义人也在微博公布OPPO折叠屏手机样机,并附文称,“人足够多的话可以考虑是否要量产。”

3月20日,TCL集团透露旗下TCL通讯的折叠屏手机计划,预计在2020年一季度推出折叠屏手机,主要针对海外市场。值得注意的是,TCL集团折叠终端的屏幕主要由旗下屏幕厂商华星光电提供。早在MWC 2019上,TCL集团就专门设置展台,展示华星光电的柔性显示技术及概念终端。

据不完全统计,在MWC 2019开幕前后,除了作为站上竞争焦点的三星Galaxy Fold商用手机和华为基于5G技术的Mate X商用手机,中兴、OPPO、小米、谷歌、TCL等国内外企业都密集透露了本公司的折叠手机产品或技术专利。

一直引领全球创新风潮的苹果公司也正加入“折叠”赛道,相继爆出多项折叠技术专利。据AppleInsider网站苹果最新一项公开专利显示,苹果正在研发折叠点会自动发热的折叠技术,以应对在寒冷条件下使用折叠终端容易造成损伤的问题。

技术难题

面对质疑,三星、华为均以量产计划作为回应。

三星方面表示已经做好量产准备,首批上市时间预计在今年4月26日,预计出货量为100万台。

华为方面则表示,Mate X是量产机,不是概念机,余承东近日向媒体确认上市时间在今年6月。

IHS公司手机行业分析师李怀斌向《中国新闻周刊》分析说,今年折叠手机会有量产突破,但是量级会稍微小一点。“最开始的分析预测是,2019年的出货量在50万台,不过现在来看,这个数量可能还会加大。”

折叠屏手机作为新型消费电子产品走向市场,第一步是要具备相对完善的市场成熟度,要解决的核心难题在于屏幕本身和铰链技术。

从屏幕本身来讲,柔性屏的发展为这一轮手机厂商的创新提供了技术支撑。所谓柔性屏即指柔性OLED屏幕,较液晶(LCD)、刚性OLED屏幕,具备可弯曲、折叠、更轻薄化的特性。实际上,各家厂商竞逐的曲面屏、全面屏就是柔性屏的应用之一,这使得OLED全面屏逐渐成为各家高端旗舰机型的标配,而“可折叠”方案更能体现“柔性化”特质,成为智能终端形态上的创新尝试。

同时作为屏幕生产商和手机厂商的三星,在这轮竞争中占据一定优势。早在2011年,三星就开始布局柔性显示生产线。在中国,屏幕供应商京东方、深天马、维信诺等也陆续发力柔性显示领域。

折叠手机大热走红后,华为Mate X屏幕供应商京东方A在股市收获久违的涨停,资本市场多只折叠概念股如彩虹股份、深天马A、维信诺、TCL集团等收获较好涨幅。

京东方高级副总裁张宇向《中国新闻周刊》透露,为了保证屏幕在折叠开合上的耐用性,京东方屏幕需要经过20万次折叠的实际测试。“目前业内以20万次为衡量标准,即保证在每天开合100次的情况下,达到3年多的使用寿命,满足换机周期。”

折叠手机实现可折叠需要多层结构的同步。华为给出的解决方案是四层结构设计——高分子材料的屏幕保护层、可弯曲的柔性屏幕、软胶支撑片,转轴。其中最为关键的是转轴的设计,“华为耗费三年时间攻关解决铰链设计,使用包含超过一百多个部件实现无缝折叠。”余承东解释说。

依照目前可量产折叠手机或概念机的实现形态来看,折叠方式有内折、外折、双折叠、向下折四种。华为Mate X的外折能够实现折叠屏幕完全贴合,三星Galaxy Fold内折后由于铰链的存在,屏幕之间会留有空隙。

这两种具有代表性的折叠方式各有优劣。“柔性屏手机的盖板材质为PI膜而非玻璃,表面硬度与玻璃相差较大,华为等手机厂商采用外折叠的方式要考虑屏幕的耐划伤性,三星的内折叠方式可以不考虑剐擦的风险,但是内折要求屏幕的曲率半径更小,单从技术角度而言实现难度更大。”李怀斌分析说。

目前折叠手机的形态创新尚在探索之中,不同折叠方式之前没有可借鉴的成熟经验。

维信诺公司副总裁黄秀颀向《中国新闻周刊》表示,以双折叠手机设计为例,其结层结构与单折是不同的,无论是薄膜本身还是各层结构之间,包括膜层的设计,模组结构的应力管控等,都与单折不同;单纯考虑屏的部分可能比较容易解决,但是从整机的设计来讲,差别就比较大。

高成本

长久以来,制约手机的最大因素就是屏的显示面积,这也是手机厂商利用曲面屏、全面屏来提升屏占比的重要因素。

“3秒钟可以下载一部1GB的高清电影”“远距离直播8K高清摄像头拍摄的视频”,5G带来的变革在各行业都充满不确定性,折叠屏手机则代表了主流手机厂商对5G时代首个内容爆款的趋势判断。

消费电子产业观察家梁振鹏认为,折叠屏的核心价值就是在有限的携带空间提升屏幕效率和提供区别化的用户体验。

目前折叠屏手机展开后能够实现7英寸左右的平板的大小,然而,屏幕变大对手机续航能力有更高要求。

小米创始人、董事长兼CEO雷军曾表示,折叠屏手机的电池小得可怜,几折后空间都被占用了。

In this regard, Li Huaibin's analysis believes that "5G power consumption will inevitably increase after the application of 5G, and there will be new application content in the 5G era. The battery life of folding screen mobile phones needs to be resolved by various manufacturers."

In addition, the high price of folding screen mobile phones may become an important factor constraining consumer demand for replacement. Samsung's Galaxy Fold is priced at $ 1,980 (about RMB 13,300). And "there is no more expensive, only more expensive" Huawei directly raised the price to 2600 US dollars (about 17,500 yuan).

This makes the industry generally not optimistic about the volume of folding screen mobile phones. Today-SurveyMonkey survey in the United States shows that consumers are no longer willing to pay more than $ 1,000 for new phones. At the same time, other research results show that consumers are prolonging the time to replace mobile phones, and are not ready to upgrade their devices following the release cycle of mobile phone manufacturers.

The cost of folding mobile phones is subject to screen yields and supporting industry chains. At present, the representative screen manufacturers in China announce that the yield rate of flexible screens is between 60% and 70%. Some people in the industry have analyzed this. This refers to the comprehensive yield rate, which includes the yield rate of the display screen and the yield rate of the module. Wait, "From the experience of peers, the yield of flexible screens is not high, about 30% is relatively high."

In addition, the cost increase of components is mainly screen modules and hinge components. Looking at the cost of Samsung's folding phones, it is nearly 65% ​​higher than the iPhone XS. For example, the screen module has exceeded $ 200, while the previous screen cost was only about $ 100, an increase of more than 100%. In the design of the hinge, the Korean manufacturer's solution requires US $ 150 to US $ 200, and domestic manufacturers can achieve around US $ 100.

"Folding mobile phones are still facing many challenges, such as the screen is foldable, but the circuit board, components, and chips are not foldable. In addition, the life of the folding mobile phone, the scratch resistance of the screen, and the convenience of operation Both have to be tested by technology and the market. "Liang Zhenpeng said that OLED flexible displays have brought endless imagination to the consumer electronics, home appliances, and IT communications industries, but they need to be further explored in which fields and how they are applied.

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