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CES 2019 Device Blog: Day 1: Smartphones

by Yiwen Wu | Jan 08, 2019

CES 2019, world’s largest consumer electronics trade show, takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, from Jan 8 (Tue) to Jan 11 (Fri) 2019. Strategy Analytics has a large team of analysts across various services in attendance, including smartphones, drones, robots, tablets, wearables, smart home, semiconductors and automotive.

Our CES 2019 device pre-show report can be found here. Meanwhile, we are blogging in a daily base on the latest devices and trends that we spotted in the show this week.  

On Day One, we are turning our attention to some interesting devices from Chinese vendors ZTE Nubia and Royole demoed in the show.  

Nubia brought two devices to CES 2019. One is a mobile gaming phone, called Red Magic Mars” and the other is a dual-display model, called Nubia X.

  • Nubia Red Magic Mars targets to heavy mobile gamers, the niche consumer segment which has been gaining increased traction since 2018. Unsurprisingly, the new model is powered by Qualcomm 845 chipset and equipped with large memories. In addition to that, the device comes with a specially-designed cooling system. Red Magic Mars will be available in North America and Europe from the end of this month and will be priced at USD 399 at retail.
  • Nubia X is an interesting device with a refreshing industry design. The device features a 6.3-inch display on the front and a 5.1-inch OLED display on the back. By removing the front camera, the device has achieved a 94% screen-to-body ratio without notch or hole-punch design. The device is sold RMB3699 (~USD540) at retail in China. Its price and availability in overseas market has not been announced yet. We are impressed by the innovation and we admire its uniqueness (vivo NEX 2 adopted the similar concept design). We however remain concerned on its battery life and increased BOM cost, as well as its overall user experience. It is a bold move from Nubia.

Nubia X

Nubia X 

 

 

Royole showcased its world first foldable smartphone FlexPai at the show floor of CES 2019. The FlexPai was first announced in Oct 2018 in China, and this is its first high-profile debuts outside its home country. The demoed device is smartphone-cum-tablet with the foldable display which is 7.8 inch when opened and roughly 5 inch when closed. From our perspective, FlexPai is little more than a proof of concept, but presages coming products in this new form factor. Royole is not a typical smartphone vendor; instead it is a high-profile tech startup in China focus on flexible technology. For smartphone industry, 2019 is set to be a banner year for display innovation. We are looking forward to see more foldable devices to be launched this year from major vendors.

Royole FlexPai

FlexPai 

 

It is pity to see that major Chinese smartphone vendors, like Huawei, OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi, all remain quite low profile at CES 2019, partly due to the on-going tension between China and US. But it is encouraging to see smaller vendors are showcasing their innovation muscle at the show. In the context of ongoing consolidation in the smartphone industry, it has been increasingly difficult for microvendors to survive and to thrive. Niche market, like gaming device, could be an answer, while betting on the new innovation could be another one although it is much more risky and more resource-consuming.

This has been our daily blog for Day One in Vegas, and we will come back with Day Two blog tomorrow. Stay tuned, and keep visiting our CES 2019 blog website for more.

 

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