Vivo unveils Apex prototype – MWC 2018 – A prototype from Vivo showed off the world’s first in-display fingerprint scanner. This is a method of biometric authentication that could prove to be the best of all world — no need for bulky screen bezels, awkward rear-mounted sensors, or complex arrays of face-detection tech. That prototype later shipped in China as the X20 Plus UD, and now Vivo has brought a concept phone to MWC that represents the next evolution of that idea. It’s all about figuring out how to get rid of bezels for good.
The concept phone is called Apex, and its headline feature is what Vivo describes as “Half-Screen In-Display Fingerprint Scanning Technology.” The idea here is that instead of placing your finger on a thumbnail-sized icon to unlock the phone, you’ll be able to do so in a much larger area of the display.
On Apex, the usable scanning area isn’t quite half the screen — it’s more like a third. Or maybe two-fifths. But in any case, the area is big enough to demonstrate the tech’s advantage; this way, you can pretty much just pick up the phone and unlock it without really having to think about it. You’re also able to require simultaneous input from two different fingerprints for extra security, or for times when you might want to protect data shared by two people.
Apex, as a device, is one of the most aggressive expressions of that ideal yet, with almost imperceptible bezels around three sides of the phone and a larger — but still skinny — one on the bottom edge. And as such, Vivo has needed to find solutions for the kind of features that usually requires bezels to function.
The most obvious one of these is the selfie camera. Some phone makers have gotten around this with notches, others by relocating the camera below the screen so that you have to hold the phone upside down. But Apex’s answer is both inventive and kind of cute — the 8-megapixel camera is hidden behind the screen and pops up like a periscope when needed.
Apex is purely a concept, and Vivo says it has no plans to release an actual product in this particular form. But none of it feels particularly implausible. The fingerprint sensor works, the selfie camera works, the earpiece-speaker-thing works, all in a package with an impressive screen-to-body ratio. I wouldn’t be surprised if one, some, or all of these ideas make their way into various phones over the next year or two as manufacturers chase a future free from bezels.
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