China's Vivo introduced an interesting concept smartphone earlier this week. Not only does the Apex almost get rid of bezels from the front, but sounds belt out from the screen itself, users no longer have to fiddle with tiny fingerprint scanners to unlock the phone and the front camera pops up from inside the body when needed, and disappears when not.
The Apex FullView concept smartphone reflects the current war against display bezels – as evidenced recently from Apple, Samsung and more – but seems more extreme than most. It features an OLED display panel with bezels around the top and sides down to 1.8 mm for (almost) edge to edge goodness. The bezel to the bottom is a little more noticeable, but still only 4.3 mm. And the company does suggest that it's looking into reducing that bottom strip down to 1.8 mm, too.
Half-Screen In-Display Fingerprint Scanning technology is pretty self explanatory, giving future users the option of touching anywhere on the bottom half of the display to unlock the phone. The company suggests that the technology could also allow for improved security by requiring two fingers to be simultaneously placed on the screen's scanner.
Vivo's aggressive stand against bezels could have seen speakers positioned on the top and bottom of the body, but they're actually nowhere to be seen in the Apex. Instead, the company has developed something it's calling Screen SoundCasting Technology. This essentially turns the whole display into a flat speaker, by sending vibrations through the screen itself – for calls and for music. And to save on circuitboard space inside, the DAC and trio of amps have been integrated into a single package.
This approach is reported to reduce sound leakage while offering a balanced listening experience, though similar vibration-based tech doesn't offer deeply satisfying low end performance for music playback so we'd have to hear this system for ourselves before commenting further. Vivo also says that this kind of audio output method is kinder to battery life than conventional speakers.
With such a thin, almost non-existent, bezel to the top of the display, you may be wondering where the 8 MP front-facing camera is located. Vivo has opted to give the Apex an elevating selfie cam, which rises up in less than a second to take a photo and then retracts inside the phone's body when no longer needed. The Apex also rocks a hidden proximity sensor and ambient light sensor to maximize display real estate.
The Apex is just a concept at the moment, but does offer an intriguing glimpse into the minds of Vivo's engineers and designers, and proves that smartphone development is still very much alive and kicking.
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