'

Future of phones? Vivo's Apex has pop-up camera, big in-screen fingerprint reader

Vivo has showed off some of its answers to the quest for no-bezel smartphones.

Video: Samsung Galaxy S9: Checking out the specs

Chinese handset brand Vivo has unveiled a concept phone dubbed Apex with a selfie camera that pops up from the back, all in the name of slimmer bezels.

From Mobile World Congress, ZDNet sister site CNET reports that the Apex concept phone has bezels on the top and sides that measure just 1.8mm (0.07 inch) and a 4.3mm (0.17 inch) bezel on the bottom, surrounding a six-inch edge-to-edge OLED display.

Since there's no space on the screen for a front-facing camera, Vivo has designed a flip-over camera with an eight-megapixel lens that pops out in 0.8 seconds and automatically retracts after use.

It's just a prototype, so a future design may gain a faster flip mechanism, but it's an interesting way to avoid an iPhone X-like notch. The phone also has dual rear cameras.

To support the all-screen design and avoid placing a fingerprint reader on the back, Vivo has also included an in-screen fingerprint reader like the one it showed off at CES with Synaptics and was included in the X20 Plus UD for the Chinese market.

In the Apex, the fingerprint reader supports reading two fingerprints in the screen and is spread across the entire lower half of the screen, potentially allowing for a reading of two fingerprints for extra security or less precise placement of one finger on a smaller space.

The Vivo Apex also experiments with vibrating panels to generate sound for calls and media, which once again is a response to the lack of bezel space for the ear speaker.

Vivo calls the technology SoundCasting, and it works by turning the entire display into a speaker. It argues that it should save on power, reduce sound leakage and offer a superior audio experience.

It's not known if Vivo will ever release the concept phone, but some ideas may find a place in upcoming phones from the company.

vivoapex.jpg

Vivo has designed a flip-over camera with an eight-megapixel lens that pops out in 0.8 seconds

Image: CNET

Previous and related coverage

iPhone, Galaxy's future? Vivo X20 Plus UD debuts world's first on-screen fingerprint scanner

Chinese consumers get first dibs on the world's first phone with an under-screen fingerprint reader.

This phone's camera pops up to take your selfie -- for reals CNET

The Apex can also read two fingerprints you scan on-screen.

Vivo's Apex concept phone rises to the challenge CNET

Vivo made a prototype that does three very cool things.