Let’s be honest, most major smartphones manufacturers really aren’t doing everything they can to advance smartphone design by all that much. They’re definitely holding back, likely waiting for a slight dip in profits before introducing something truly revolutionary.
Until then, we’ll get half-assed efforts like Sony’s new Xperia XZ2 smartphones, the Essential Phone, or even the Galaxy S9 which features almost the same black — albeit, small — bezels as last year’s Galaxy S8. While it’s been a slow evolution, some Chinese manufacturers like Vivo are trying to prove they have what it takes to take smartphone design to that next level. Enter the Vivo Apex.
You’re probably wondering just who the heck Vivo is and as a quick refresher, these are the guys that made headphones after showing off a smartphone with an embedded fingerprint sensor right in the display. Manufacturers like Samsung were rumored to be working on similar tech, but it was Vivo who beat them to it.
The Chinese manufacturer is now showing off a concept smartphone — dubbed the Apex — at MWC this year, allowing press and media to get some hands on time with the device. What makes the Apex so special? Well, it features the same in-display fingerprint sensor (only with a larger scanning area) and it’s one of the first smartphones with virtually no bezel along all four sides of the device (okay, so the bottom bezels is slightly thicker at 4.2mm than the other three sides at 1.8mm, but it’s minuscule).
I know the design doesn’t seem all that practical, since there’s no place in the front for the sensors, front facing camera, and earpiece. Vivo solution is simply sticking sensors at the top of the phone, and the Apex features a popup front facing camera that engages automatically when the camera app is opened.
As for the earpiece, it’s not there. Instead, the Apex vibrates the entire display to simulate sound (similar to bone induction technology) and it apparently works fairly well according to The Verge, who got to spend some hands-on time with the device. You can check out their video below.
There’s currently no pricing or release date in formation for the Vivo Apex. As it stands, it exists on as a concept and there’s no telling if it will ever be massed produced. It probably doesn’t matter. There’s a good chance bigger name smartphone manufacturers will all adopt this design in the near future as they attempt to 1-up each other and win in a free market. I, for one, can’t wait.