I can't imagine that pro7's "rear small screen", which was once considered a failure, will reappear in the flagship products of many friends five years later - and there is a great probability that there will be more than one.
Recently, a YouTube digital blogger exposed the real video of Xiaomi 11 Super Cup: Xiaomi 11 ultra (the video has been deleted). In the exposure video, a very small screen is integrated on the right side of the camera module on the back of Xiaomi 11ultra. Then, on February 19, a group of design patents exposed by oppo showed that oppo added a sub screen to the middle area of the rear camera of the mobile phone, which can display simple information such as time and date.
According to the information that has been exposed, it may be that Xiaomi wants to improve the differentiation and high-end of its flagship by putting the rear sub screen on the top model of its own flagship. But just like Meizu's controversy when it launched "picture screen" on pro7, five years later, it seems that the outside world still can't see the real practical value of such a super small sub screen.
As the most typical product in related design, Meizu pro7 released in 2017 is the first one we know about the rear sub screen. The most direct function of the rear sub screen is probably to be used as the display screen when using the rear lens to take selfie.
But from the functional point of view, this kind of design is nothing new. I don't know if the current users still remember that in the era of functional phones, many mobile phones would place a convex mirror next to their rear lens, commonly known as "selfie mirror".
At that time, most of the functional computers did not have front cameras, so users could only choose rear cameras when taking selfie, which led to the so-called self timer. But the effect of that small convex mirror is very "touching", which is basically better than nothing. I believe many people still don't know what the little convex mirror is for.
In the era of intelligent computer, the front lens has become a standard configuration, so the self portrait mirror naturally has no need to continue to exist. But another new problem is that although the smartphone lens has become more and more powerful in recent years, the quality of the front lens always lags far behind that of the rear lens due to the limitation of the size of the module, which makes it difficult for those users who are keen on taking self portraits to be satisfied with the front lens for a long time. Therefore, it was only once the birth of the mobile phone that focused on the front self timer like Meitu.
On the other hand, there is also a possibility that we are preparing for the coming off screen camera.
Nowadays, the off screen camera is the technology development direction pursued by all mobile phone companies. Last year, ZTE took the lead in launching the mass production of the off screen camera phone axon 205g. But from the actual performance effect, its performance is not ideal. Not long ago, DxOMark announced ZTE's Axion 20 5g selfie score, which is only 26 points. Compared with the 90 or even more than 100 scores of other traditional front camera flagship brands, this score can be said to be appalling.
"This year, the mass production of front-end camera products of various mainstream enterprises will probably be listed one after another. Although there may be some progress in technology, it is obviously unrealistic to achieve the photography quality of front-end camera at this stage. In this case, the use of a rear lens has indeed become part of the user's demand, and it is possible to add a small screen that can display images beside the lens. "
It is true that the "collapse" of pro7 after its listing can not be attributed to the design of "smart window". The main problem is its weak performance and unreasonable pricing. At least from the results, its focus on the promotion of "smart window" did not bring much bonus to the market performance of this product.
In addition, in the era of full screen, it was once the pursuit of all smartphone manufacturers to only pursue complete and flawless true and full screen. For this reason, we saw the emergence of retractable camera, folding camera and under screen camera. Among them, there were mobile phones with positive and negative screens, such as Nubia x dual screen mobile phone released in 2018. Completely cancel the front camera, the user can only choose the screen behind the fuselage when taking a self portrait, the only difference is that the screen size is larger, which can complete almost all the daily operation of the mobile phone.
But the final market results show that this radical attempt is not successful.
How to seek design differentiation?
In today's highly homogeneous smart phones, the purpose of every innovative design is to pursue more differentiation. But mobile phone is almost as like as two peas, and the other is the trend of the big screen, curved screen and dug screen. Now put the flagship products of mainstream enterprises in the market face up, most users should not be able to distinguish the specific brand and model. After all, they are just a screen, except for the size.
When HTC was still powerful, as the absolute head brand of the Android camp, it was the object of numerous friends to imitate. There was a time when you put several manufacturers' models together with the back facing up. At a glance, you would think these were HTC. This kind of grand occasion has continued until 2011, before Apple's lawsuit led to HTC's ban.
"Under the premise that the front side of smart phones is too homogeneous to carry too much differentiated design, the back side of mobile phones has become the most important position for enterprises to seek differentiation," the above communication industry experts said to understand notes
Therefore, we have seen the changes of various forms on the back of smart phones in the past two years, including different numbers, different designs and different sizes of camera modules (commonly known as Yuba). The back covers with different colors, patterns and materials have become the important selling points of most models. The materials range from plastic to glass, and then to plain leather, and the colors range from monochrome to later Until now, all kinds of carefully blended special spot colors.
Although the back of the mobile phone is the smallest existence that users perceive most of the time, and even the vast majority of users will choose to buy the mobile phone shell (completely covering the back cover design of the mobile phone) at the same time, as the only space to show the characteristics and highlight the differentiation in the appearance design, the mobile phone manufacturers are still racking their brains to make the back cover of their products more characteristic, so as to grasp those features The eyeballs of potential users.
The same is true for the rear secondary screen. Although it is not known how Xiaomi and other enterprises that will launch rear secondary screen products this year will make an article on this consumer screen, the previous experiments on both the primary and secondary screens have not been successful. Want to show your personality? How to improve practicability? It seems to be a bit like the LED screen set on the outside of the body of the pure electric car lite of BAIC before, and it doesn't have much substantive significance (as a mobile advertising screen).
The price of "taste fresh"
From now on, the outside world still can't see the real practical significance and value of these sub screens, more just to provide a decoration for mobile phone products, and not much functional practicality. But in order to increase this point of differentiation, enterprises have to pay a lot of price.
The first is the cost. This kind of rear small screen and the mold after adding a small screen need extra customization, which is not a cheap cost. When Meizu pro7 was released, its official said that it spent 2.5 million US dollars for the small rear screen. Considering that the sales volume of this top equipped flagship product is often not very high, it is difficult to share the cost by expanding the sales scale, so it is not cost-effective to customize such a screen and mold.
In addition, the addition of the rear auxiliary screen will make the interior space of the whole fuselage more crowded, and also bring higher power consumption. Top equipped models such as Xiaomi 11ultra will even change the interior layout of the fuselage. In this year's snapdragon 888 power consumption, cooling performance is not ideal premise, such a change for the body is not ideal cooling will be a very difficult challenge.
Every company will give priority to the input-output ratio when doing this kind of differentiated innovation, but only from the perspective of the imagination space brought by the small rear sub screen, the improvement is still very limited. It is obviously not a cost-effective decision to invest a lot of money, or even change the internal structure to serve such a secondary screen that will not bring much use experience improvement.