USA UU It is lagging behind regarding the design of the phone, and the folding elements are the proof. This year's Mobile World Congress was packed with folding items, from the elegant Mate X by Huawei to the triple-folded model by Xiaomi, the angular design of the TCL Hinge, the Oppo prototype to the clumsy Royale FlexPai to the second LG V50 screen.
But all those devices have one thing in common: as the latest waves of innovative phone designs launched overseas, will not be available in the United States significantly. Looking at the foldable landscape, basically there is only one device that will be sold in the US. UU., Through operators, without having to deal with import tariffs or cellular compatibility: Samsung's Galaxy Fold.
This is not a new phenomenon. Great phones from abroad have always had difficulties to reach the United States, due to market demand, trade agreements and other complex geopolitical factors. The current distrust of several US intelligence agencies UU Towards Chinese telecommunication communications companies is an obvious example.
But the problem is not just that US customers. UU Interesting and interesting phones are lost, although that is very frustrating. It is also that the flagships of companies like Oppo and Huawei are increasingly the best hardware in the world, offering new ideas and specifications along with the best phones in the US. UU., But at much more affordable prices. And that means less competition in a stagnant internal phone market that largely consists only of Apple and Samsung phones.
Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo are the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 smart phone manufacturers in the world by market share, but in the United States there are a virtual duopoly. According to Counterpoint Research, in the fourth quarter of 2018, Apple controlled 54 percent of the market, while Samsung had 22 percent: the two brands together account for more than three-quarters of all phones sold in the US. UU The next closest competitor is LG, with 12 percent, and has been struggling with smartphone sales for years. Even seemingly like Google, with its Pixel line praised by critics and benefiting from the company's marketing power, and Sony, a brand that American consumers are incredibly familiar with, it can hardly make a dent.
So, although the Chinese brands could be sold in the USA. UU., They are likely to face an uphill battle in the market. But it is very much a moot point, since at this time it is not even a competition. In addition, the boredom of American phones also harms innovation. At this time, the main devices in the USA. UU They are boring, with notches and iPhone X-ish designs. With regard to the majority of US customers. UU., That's the ultimate in innovation, so much so that when Samsung comes out with its S10 drill to avoid notches, it feels like a victory. But Chinese phones have already far exceeded designs with notches due to the faster and more experimental pace of the technology.
Outside the US UU., The world of the telephone is full of really strange and innovative ideas. Bored of boring, white and black phones? Take a look at these gradients of neon shades that shine in the sun:
Do you hate your notch? How about an emerging camera that appears when you need it and leaves your screen gloriously unmarked when you do not?
Or maybe just try a double-sided screen that swivels around For selfies, or sliding screens, or completely portless phones. Sure, not all of them are the most practical, but they are pushing the envelope forward in a way that Apple and Samsung teams simply are not.
In addition, with the completely new form factors of the folding sheets on the way, the fact that only one or two of those devices is available in the US for now will severely limit its adoption . At this moment, the folding space is free for all, with very varied ideas of what styles of collapsible phones work and which do not. But US customers can only see a fraction of what is out there. At this time, Samsung's Galaxy Fold is the only game in the city for US customers. UU., And even if you prefer the thin style and the reverse fold that Huawei uses in Mate X, you probably do not have luck.
Now, it is possible to avoid some of the problems: if you are willing to pay a premium, you can import all the newest and most innovative phones from outside the US. UU In theory, unified telecommunications standards mean that unlocked cell phones are not restricted to any operator: you can simply buy any phone on the Internet and be ready.
But the reality is more complicated. Different operators and phones support different LTE bands and different cellular technologies (hello, GSM vs. CDMA). Without the collaboration and blessing of an operator, it is a shit as to whether your new device will actually work properly when it is powered up in the United States.
These compatibility problems will only worsen in the future as 5G begins to develop. It is bad enough to find an unlocked phone that supports the best LTE bands of your operator in the United States. Launching the chaos of different pieces of 5G spectrum that vary from carrier to carrier with different modem and antenna requirements will only make things worse. With sub-6, mmWave antennas that consume space, different bands of spectrum and gradual deployments in cities that can mean 5G coverage gaps, it seems practically impossible that you can simply buy an unlocked 5G phone that works in the United States, at least Not in the next years.
It's not that Chinese companies have not tried to enter the US market. Xiaomi did a push a few years ago, but only ended up selling smart products and accessories for the home and even electric scooters that supported the scooter companies like Bird, but not the phones. Huawei has possibly reached the closest of all. At CES 2018, Huawei was about to announce an agreement with AT & T to sell the Mate 10 Pro in the US. US, but AT & T withdrew at the eleventh hour due to government pressure for security concerns. According to reports, Verizon had also been scared.
Both efforts ended in failure, and with the political winds that are blowing as they are, it seems that the US phone market. UU You will not have to worry about competition from companies like Huawei or Xiaomi in the short term. But that does not make it more pleasant to get stuck on the sidelines watching all the great hardware from afar.