Is There Room for Growth in Walkie-Talkies? Will It Be Replaced?

With the rapid popularity of smartphones, people's demand for walkie-talkies is no longer as strong as before. However, as smartphones continue to "absorb hundreds of rivers" and carry more functions, some manufacturers have begun to consider whether mobile phones can ban walkie-talkies and form mobile phones with built-in walkie-talkies like MP3 and cameras. For the level of this possibility, we start with the classification and function of the walkie-talkie itself.

The walkie-talkie is a two-way mobile communication tool that can make calls without the need for a network, and is suitable for relatively fixed and frequent calls.

In terms of design technology, walkie-talkies can be divided into analog walkie-talkies with analog communication technology that is our common traditional walkie-talkies and digital walkie-talkies designed with digital technology. The analog walkie-talkie modulates the stored signal to the transmission frequency of the walkie-talkie, while the digital walkie-talkie digitizes the voice information and transmits it in the form of digital coding.

Analog Walkie-Talkies Are Active in the Middle and Low-End Markets

At present, the domestic production of walkie-talkies is still dominated by analog walkie-talkies, which is a communication mode in which voice, instruction, and signals are modulated to the walkie-talkie carrier frequency in a continuous wave mode. It has the advantages of mature technology, a complete system, and a relatively low cost. Domestic walkie-talkie products are only active in the low-end market, competing at low prices, which is doomed to face a major crisis in the walkie-talkie industry. Therefore, industry insiders believe that the development of analog walkie-talkies towards digitalization is a test of enterprise, which is also a good chance for the industry to reshape the market landscape.

Digital Walkie-Talkies Have Many Advantages, But Large-Scale Application Is Still Early Due to Its High Cost

Digital walkie-talkies have many advantages. First, they can make better use of spectrum resources. Similar to cellular digital technology, digital walkie-talkies can load more users on a designated channel and increase spectrum utilization, which is a solution to frequency congestion and has long-term significance. Second, they can improve call quality. Since digital communication technology has an error correction function in the system, which can achieve better voice and audio quality in a wider range of signal environments and receive less audio noise. Third, they can improve the integration of voice and data. Compared with similar integrated analog voice and data systems, digital walkie-talkies can provide better data processing and interface, so that more data applications can be integrated into the same two-way wireless communication base station, more complete and more convenient for voice and data services. These three characteristics make digital walkie-talkies an inevitable trend in the development of future walkie-talkies. However, it is still too early to say that analog is moving towards digitalization.

Most walkie-talkie solutions are based on common chip platforms. As there is no maturely dedicated chip platform of the digital walkie-talkie, the cost of the solution is too high, making the price of the walkie-talkie too high. Currently, the average price of digital walkie-talkies is much higher than that of mid- and low-end analog walkie-talkies, thus, now digital walkie-talkies can only be accepted by a few high-end professional users, which can be seen that digital walkie-talkies have not yet formed the industrial scale in the middle and low-end markets that are sensitive to the price, even if walkie-talkies have many technical advantages.

The Limitations of Phone Intercom Are Enough to Hide Its Advantages

Mobile phone intercom, also known as POC, refers to a half-duplex voice service based on mobile cellular packet domain using VOIP technology, which can support one-to-one conversations, group conversations, and broadcasts. Its characteristic is that POC services can be always online with the help of IP technology and the mobile communication network covers a large area. While ordinary walkie-talkies have to be restricted in the transmission distance.

From the perspective of functional equivalence, it can indeed replace some market applications, but it is still too early to replace the market, after all, phone intercom has its obvious limitations.

First, mobile phone intercoms are not developed and sold by the operators themselves. Second, the traditional walkie-talkie is a one-time purchase, which is easy to make a financial budget. The phone intercom requires not only a higher purchase cost but also a certain monthly communication fee, which has many inconveniences in financial settlement. Third, as the phone intercom is always online, the power consumption is significantly increased. The speaker volume of the interphone that needs to be dispatched is very loud, which also increases the power consumption. The increased double burden makes the battery life of the intercom phone unsatisfactory. Fourth, the phone intercom uses VOIP technology to realize communication, based on the public network communication, which is a technical upgrade of the traditional intercom, but it has also formed application limitations. For example, in the case of network disconnection or network congestion, phone intercom has become useless.

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Walkie-Talkie Still Has Room for Growth

Many professional departments cannot build digital communication networks, such as the vast grass-roots departments and units. They have smaller working spaces, but they have higher requirements for communication services and functions. In this case, the digital walkie-talkie becomes a better choice. Besides, small and medium airports, small and medium ports, railway platforms, power grids, and construction sites are also typical applications of walkie-talkies.

In terms of the walkie-talkie market, from the perspective of my country's walkie-talkie regional competition, the industrial layout is regional, with most of the major manufacturing companies located in the southeast coast and the Pearl River Delta. Data show that in the domestic walkie-talkie market, Motorola has the highest brand attention, reaching 44.5%.



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