In a recent interview, Hu Boshan, Vice President, Chief Operation Officer, and Head of the Vivo Central Research Center, discussed the localization of smartphone functionality and services. He noted that while Android devices previously lagged behind iPhones in user experience, domestically produced brands have significantly narrowed this gap in recent years, particularly in fields like imaging capabilities.
It’s now commonly acknowledged that domestically manufactured smartphones offer considerable advantages in localization, allowing them to align closely with domestic consumers’ needs and prompting more people to choose home-grown smartphone products.
As smartphone imaging capabilities continue to improve, demand from female users for transformational effects has significantly grown. Yet, the iPhone’s approach to photography leans towards capturing reality and naturalness. This diverges from some user’s desire to enhance their appearance in images. Although this might be attributed to Apple’s persistent aesthetic vision, this user demand has presented domestic manufacturers with opportunities, leading to series like vivo’s S series and Xiaomi’s Civi series tailored for segmented markets.
With the growing demand for selfies, some domestic manufacturers are heavily investing in front-camera technology. Incorporation of hardware designs such as fill-light and soft-light ensure enhanced lighting effects in various environments. Simultaneously, offering different color temperatures enables the creation of diverse “atmosphere effects.” Furthermore, some domestic models’ front cameras utilize dual-camera modules to enhance photo effects.
Simultaneously, domestic smartphone manufacturers are continuously innovating their beauty enhance algorithms. Beauty features have evolved from simple skin smoothening, beautification, and face slimming effects to more intelligent enhancements. For instance, some models can pinpoint and improve specific skin flaws like dark spots, dark circles, and wrinkles.
With the rapid development of AI, domestic smartphones have introduced “AI Smart Beauty” features, which allow automated makeup fitting based on users’ gender and age characteristics. Some models can even apply theories of color dimensionality from the art world to enhance facial contours, making portraits more three-dimensional.
Besides their advancements in beauty enhancements, domestically produced smartphones also offer numerous differentiated experiences in selfie modes and styles. For instance, some models provide diverse filters and modes, catering to detailed user preferences such as “heightening the cranial top” or “increasing hair volume.” Additionally, some manufacturers have gone a step further with their “portrait mode,” utilizing AI functionality to generate background, clothing, posture, hairstyles, and other elements intelligently, expanding the use of front cameras.
The localization of domestic smartphones extends far beyond just imaging functionalities. Its deep association with localized application scenarios is the key lure for many users. For instance, after WeChat’s “Red Packets” feature launched, domestic manufacturers were quick to introduce “Red Packet Assistants.” Despite modifications due to WeChat’s policies, there is no denying that domestic manufacturers are more dedicated to understanding domestic user psychology and meeting their requirements.
While overseas users might have different preferences, due to varied market environments, many domestic users have practical demands for multi-account operation (such as WeChat, QQ), incorporated early by domestic smartphones and now considered standard. Current domestic phones are typically equipped with phone number recognition and user marking to prevent scams and harassment. A seemingly simple function like an alarm clock is also a localized service advantage of domestic smartphones. In highly localized scenarios like “shifted holidays,” iPhones may fail to recognize and risk alarm failure.
Furthermore, domestic smartphone manufacturers actively collaborate with relevant institutions to provide services like emergency assistance and disaster alerts. Particularly, the disaster alert feature can provide users a response window in case of emergencies.
Although Apple still holds advantages in brand, user experience, and ecosystem, the growing demand for personalized features and services is shifting consumer preferences. These shifts are largely influenced by domestic smartphone manufacturers’ ability to quickly adapt and innovate due to their local foothold.
In the fiercely competitive smartphone market, domestic manufacturers’ strategy of deeper localization is key to differentiate themselves. This differential approach is instrumentally helping domestic smartphones bridge the gap with iPhones, providing consumers with more choices.
【All images used in this article are from the internet】